Endocrine-horse-montanaEndocrine Conditions


Endocrinology is the study of hormones, tiny circulating chemicals with mighty effects throughout the body. This is the essence of endocrinology, the study of these hormonal influences.

How does a brisk walk in the bright sunlight help a patient to heal? Answer: acetylcholine and melatonin play a role. What happens when a prey species like a horse out-races danger? Answer: surges in epinephrine and cortisol. How does eating plenty of roughage prevent colic? Answer: acetylcholine, and also other andrenergic and cholinergic hormones. Minute concentrations of these compounds can have major effects on equine health.

What about Cushing’s disease? (Cortisol is the principal player.) Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) has many similarities to Type II diabetes in people, where fat cells and other tissues releasing compounds causing insulin resistance, and many secondary effects throughout the body. The links between obesity and laminitis are related to the interplay of hormones like insulin, leptins, and other chemical messengers produced by the body in sickness and in health.

Of course, interactions of hormones are complex, and science does not necessarily have all the answers. But our specialist veterinarians are well-versed in the latest safe techniques to arrive at a diagnosis, whether Cushing’s Disease, Metabolic Syndrome, or other hormonal problems. And they will help provide you with practical strategies for managing your horse’s endocrine problems.

Our team’s expertise in Equine Internal Medicine provides the necessary background for accurate testing and treatment of the endocrine diseases and conditions such as:

  • Cushing’s Disease/PPID
  • Equine Metabolic Syndrome
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Theca/Granulosa Cell Exocrine Tumors
  • Diabetes (mellitus and insipidus)
  • Neonatal Autocrine Dysregulation


Related Presentations/Articles by Montana Equine doctors:


Equine Metabolic Syndrome & Cushing’s Disease

Presentation by Dr. Peter Heidmann DVM MPH