Symptoms of Cushing's Syndrome in horses include weight loss, ulceration in the mouth, and excessive thirst and urination. Changes in body shape occur in horses with the disease, and they tend to be immuno-suppressed, making them prone to various parasitic infections, according to PetMD. Horses develop long, thick coats and may experience abnormal shedding.
A horse suffering from Cushing’s Syndrome has an old-looking, hairy coat year-round, explains the Horse Channel. The horse is also lethargic and sweaty and tends to run a high temperature. The horse drinks excessively and may have fertility problems and an increased risk of laminitis, an inflammation within the hoof.
High cortisol levels in a horse with the syndrome suppress its immunity, making the horse at risk for chronic bacterial or parasitic infections, notes the Horse Channel. The horse may have a change in its body structure arising from the high rate at which its body metabolizes protein. Muscle wasting and large fat deposits tend to develop along the horse’s mane, reports PetMD. The horse develops a potbelly appearance as the weight of the intestines stretches the weakened abdominal muscles.
When the disease advances, a horse may exhibit neurological problems due to the enlargement of its pituitary gland, which compresses the brain. The horse may hyperventilate and have uncoordinated limb movement. If the condition remains untreated, it may debilitate the horse, cautions the Horse Channel.