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A postmortem study examined the records of 241 horses at least 15 years old that died following admission to a veterinary teaching hospital over a 10-year period to investigate their causes of death, including the relationship to pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID).
Organ systems most often causing death or euthanasia included digestive (42%), pituitary gland (13%), musculoskeletal (10%) and nervous (8%). The cardiovascular, urinary, reproductive, respiratory and integumentary systems each explained about 5% of the deaths; and the lymph, liver explained about 2%. Deaths were attributed to systemic cancers for about 1% of the animals, but cancers of any organ system explained about 19% of the deaths with squamous cell carcinomas, lymphomas and melanomas most common. PPID was the most common specific reason for death among horses affected by the condition (48% of those affected by the disorder). Colic, lameness, cancer and spinal cord disease were the most common other causes of death among PPID affected animals. Cancers, infections, lameness and heaves were the most common non-fatal clinical conditions that affected the PPID horses.
— Miller MA et al. Vet Path. 2016;53:390-398
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