New tool offers helping hand in caring for senior horses

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Equine Guelph’s Senior Horse Tool includes a wealth of information on PPID (Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction).
Equine Guelph’s Senior Horse Tool includes a wealth of information on PPID (Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction). © Equine Guelph

A new tool to help owners care for horses who are in their golden years has been developed.

Created by Canada’s Equine Guelph and pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, Equine Guelph’s Senior Horse Tool aims to help owners learn more about the management of senior horses and conditions that may affect them.

There is no standard age to determine when a horse becomes a senior. Instead, factors like breed, health conditions, previous use, and history of care can all affect when a horse is considered senior. Changes that might make a horse a senior can creep up slowly over time and this makes it important to continually assess older horses. In older horses, a major issue is Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), a condition that can affect 15-30% of senior equines, and the tool offers a “click and reveal” activity where viewers are tested on whether they can pick out horses with the condition.

The tool covers health issues and diet, and there is a quiz to test knowledge on issues related to the health and management of senior horses. There are also additional resources with links to helpful videos and fact sheets on senior horse issues, including PPID.

Most horse owners realize that every horse should be treated as an individual when developing a diet to meet their nutritional needs. However, there are four main groups that senior horses can be divided into when categorizing their needs:

  1. The Healthy Senior
  2. The Overweight/Obese Senior
  3. The Senior that is Losing Condition
  4. The Senior with Health Issues (the Geriatric horse)

Some of the horses in the final “Senior with Health Issues” category may be affected by PPID, and the Senior Horse Tool includes a wealth of information on the topic, as well as a video of horses with PPID before and after treatment.

“Every fall Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors a PPID testing campaign in partnership with Animal Health Laboratory,” said Doug Myers, DVM, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health.

“Over the past five years more than 1700 horses have been tested and 62% were positive for PPID.”

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