Though owners of horses with Cushings disease are well-versed in medicating their animals with pergolide, a new study suggests that twice-daily dosing may be more effective than the once-a-day administration that is currently recommended.
Cushings disease is one of the most-common endocrine disorders in horses and ponies. Generally affecting older animals, the consequences of not treating the disease can be life-threatening: Many cases develop debilitating laminitis.
Cushings, also called Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction or PPID, is believed to be caused by a degeneration of the nerves that inhibit the activity of the pituitary. Overactivity of the pituitary gland allows for the release of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) into the plasma, causing horses to have long and curly hair coats, muscle wasting, recurrent infections and laminitis. Pergolide tablets may replace this lost inhibition and reduce ACTH production; the drug is generally given once a day.
Drs. Rendle, Doran, Ireland and Edwards used six PPID horses for a study completed at Charles Sturt University in Australia. The researchers dosed the horses once daily with pergolide for an 18-day study. Blood was collected 30 minutes before, 2 and 12 hours after pergolide administration to determine ACTH levels.
The team found that oral pergolide had a rapid affect on ACTH concentration in plasma, significantly suppressing pituitary activity within hours. Further reductions occurred up to 10 days after the onset of pergolide administration.
However, it was also shown that the drug is removed rapidly from the blood, with a half-life of less than 12 hours,; this accounts for fluctuations in ACTH concentrations. The scientists suggest that twice-daily administration of pergolide may be more beneficial to horses with Cushings and reduce ACTH fluctuations.
Read more at Science Direct.
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