The key drug used to help horses with equine Cushing’s disease has been linked to a heart valve problem in humans. Could this also be the case for horses?
Researchers with the Free University of Berlin investigated the question in a preliminary study published recently in the Journal of Veterinary Science.
Equine Cushing’s disease, formally known as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), is a common neurodegenerative disease in aged horses leading to reduced dopamine production.
The treatment is based on the administration of the dopamine agonist pergolide, which has been linked to valvular fibrosis in humans.
Professor Heidrun Gehlen and her fellow researchers set out to determine whether pergolide induces valvular disease or affects cardiac function in horses.