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Equine Health Resource

Failure to Shed Haircoat Normally

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

    If you notice that your horse has retained all or parts of their coat late into the spring season, there may be cause for concern. A complex hormonal system controls the shedding of the haircoat. Several rare conditions can disrupt this system resulting in an abnormally retained haircoat.

    However, this sign is far more commonly associated with older horses that have Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID or Cushing’s Disease). Horses with severe or well-established PPID may have the classic retained curly coat (hirsutism), but patchy shedding (retention of long hairs on the legs) is much more common.


    Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE). Be on the lookout for other signs classically associated with PPID, such as weight loss over the top-line, lameness, changes in the appearance of the feet, lameness, digital pulse, and reluctance to move. Share your findings and concerns with your vet.


    Your vet may perform a physical exam to rule out other problems, and will probably perform blood tests to determine whether your horse has PPID.

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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