Prospective Case Series of Clinical Signs and Adrenocorticotrophin (ACTH) Concentrations in Seven Horses Transitioning to Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID)

Naomi Kirkwood, Kristopher J. Hughes, Allison J. Stewart

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Abstract

Poor recognition of subtle clinical abnormalities and equivocal ACTH concentrations make early diagnosis of PPID difficult. Progressive clinical findings and corresponding ACTH concentrations in horses transitioning to PPID over time have not been documented. Seven horses with ACTH concentrations equivocal for PPID (utilizing locally derived, seasonally adjusted diagnostic-cut off values (DCOV)) and no clinical signs of PPID were selected. Sequential measurement of basal and thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH)-stimulated ACTH concentrations and recording of clinical findings occurred from October 2017 to November 2021 in a prospective case series. In two horses, marked hypertrichosis developed. Although 1/11 basal ACTH concentrations were below DCOV in 2018, subsequently all basal ACTH concentrations in these two horses without treatment were greater than DCOV. One horse was treated with pergolide which normalized basal ACTH concentrations. Four horses developed intermittent, mild hypertrichosis, and one horse never developed hypertrichosis. Basal ACTH concentrations in these five horses were greater than DCOV in 63/133 (47.4%) of testing points. TRH-stimulated ACTH concentrations in these five horses were greater than DCOV in 77/133 (57.9%) of testing points, sometimes markedly increased and greater than the assay upper limit of detection (LoD) of 1250pg/mL. TRH-stimulated ACTH concentrations were most frequently positive in late summer and early autumn, with 24/37 (64.9%) of TRH-stimulated ACTH concentrations greater than the DCOV in February and March. Horses transitioning to PPID can have subtle clinical signs and equivocal ACTH concentrations. However, TRH-stimulated ACTH concentrations can be markedly greater than DCOV, especially in late summer and early autumn (February and March) allowing for identification of subclinical and transitional cases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number572
Number of pages21
JournalVeterinary Sciences
Volume9
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

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