Cushings Disease

Equine Cushings Disease is a malfunction of the Pituitary gland, leading to excess production of cortisol, which is a natural steroid. This is a typical problem of the older horse.


  • Excessive thirst – drinking up to 3 times more than usual   
  • Long coarse hairy coat, sometimes curly, retained in summer  
  • Swayback stance and pot belly
  • Deposit of fat above the eyes
  • Dull, listless appearance. 
  • Increased appetite (but probably without improved condition)  
  • Laminitis
  • Loss of topline
  • Weakened immune system, allowing a variety of diseases to take hold

Several websites produced by qualified veterinary practitioners observe that if caught early, Cushings Disease can be controlled with Agnus Castus (Monk’s Pepper, Chaste Tree) see for example The Laminitis Trust
For advice on maintaining condition, click here. For advice on diets for cushinoid cases you should contact Horseheath Nutrition direct – click

This horse was thought to be suffering incipient Cushing’s Disease. This picture was taken in early June. Note the winter coat still on the belly, neck and legs.
Ten days later, more of the winter coat has been shed but a weight loss problem has become apparent.