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PPID is a hormonal disease caused by changes in the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain. It is normally regulated by a substance called dopamine and produces a variety of hormones. These hormones are distributed around the horse’s body via the bloodstream and play an important role in maintaining and controlling a variety of bodily functions.
Horses and ponies with PPID don’t produce enough dopamine, and this means that the pituitary gland is unregulated, and produces too many hormones. One of these hormones is called ACTH, but it is likely that there are many others.
The clinical signs of PPID are likely to be associated with these elevated hormone levels, but the exact link between the elevated hormones and the signs of the disease is still unknown.