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Equine Cushing’s and Insulin Resistance Group Inc.



Merlin - PPID, IR at age 35.


Once thought to be a death sentence, horses with Equine Cushing’s disease or Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) can live long, healthy, and useful lives.

While uncontrolled laminitis used to be the most common cause of death/euthanasia in PPID horses, it is very rarely the cause in horses on the Equine Cushing's and Insulin Resistance Group (ECIR Group). The difference is the way they are treated and supported.

When confronted with a diagnosis of PPID, owners are faced with primarily two choices of treatment: pergolide or herbals.

While an herbal approach — generally Chaste Tree Berry — can provide relief from some PPID symptoms (lethargy, coat abnormality), it does not reliably control hormonal output and is therefore not recommended as a sole treatment for PPID.

Since 1999, the ECIR Group has had the rare opportunity to follow thousands of PPID and Insulin Resistant (IR) horses long term, using evidence-based science and research, and the lessons learned from member horses. The ECIR group has also worked with government agencies and pharmaceutical firms to reach their recommendations for best use of pergolide to support the welfare and maintain the health of correctly diagnosed PPID horses.

Recently, a podcast episode documenting this work, was released by Senior ECIR Group member, Abby Nemec, on her show, A Time for Horses. The podcast was titled REGULATORY DISCRETION: The story of the Great Pergolide Scare of 2007 and the horse owners who took on the FDA, Nemec describes the episode as follows:

This is the story of how a decision was made, with all the best intentions and for all the right reasons, to withdraw the prescription drug pergolide mesylate from the market in 2007. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made the announcement through its usual channels, intending to protect the health of human Parkinson’s Disease patients. At the time, nobody at the FDA knew that this would put the lives of tens of thousands of elderly horses at risk. They would find out soon enough.

Using your directory of choice (Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS ) you may subscribe to the podcast, or listen to REGULATORY DISCRETION at

Listeners will thoroughly understand much more about the need for and recommendation of pergolide, the best use of the drug for PPID horses, and the and the history of the dedication of the members of the ECIR Group.

About A Time for Horses

From her earliest recollection there were always horses in Abby Nemec’s life. Her family are all horse people — some professional, some more recreational — but all horse people nonetheless.

A farrier, teacher of riding and horsemanship and, since 2009, Director of Equine Programs at Post University, Waterbury, CT, Nemec’s goal is a show that captures and holds attention, giving listeners a reason to stay from start to finish.

Through A Time for Horses, Abby hopes to explore life with this most royal of creatures, through topics that spark her intellectual curiosity, her social activism, and her joy for living.
Website -
Facebook: @atimeforhorses
Twitter: @ATFHpodcast

About ECIR Group Inc.

Started in 1999, the ECIR Group is the largest field-trial database for PPID and IR in the world and provides the latest research, diagnosis, and treatment information, in addition to dietary recommendations, for horses with these conditions. Even universities do not and cannot compile and follow long term as many in-depth case histories of PPID/IR horses as the ECIR Group.

In 2013 the Equine Cushing's and Insulin Resistance Group Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation, was approved as a 501(c)3 public charity. Tax deductible contributions and grants support ongoing research, education, and awareness of Equine Cushing's Disease/PPID and Insulin Resistance.

THE MISSION of the ECIR Group Inc. is to improve the welfare of equines with metabolic disorders via a unique interface between basic research and real-life clinical experience. Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal. The ECIR Group serves the scientific community, practicing clinicians, and owners by focusing on investigations most likely to quickly, immediately, and significantly benefit the welfare of the horse.

Join us at the 2017 NO Laminitis! Conference, Tucson, AZ, October 27-29.