A new campaign to highlight the problem of Cushings disease has been launched.

“Talk About Cushings” aims to raise awareness of the condition in the hope that earlier diagnosis will lead to quicker treatment.

Cushings is hard to detect, with signs often misconstrued as a horse looking “poor” or having laminitis.

Redwings’ head of veterinary services Nicky Jarvis said: “Old age is not in itself a disease, so when a geriatric horse loses condition or appears unwell there is always an underlying cause.”

Studies have suggested that more than 15% of horses and ponies over 15 years of age are affected by the disease and that more than 80% of horses suffering from laminitis may have an underlying hormonal disease, such as Cushings.

The clinical signs of Cushings include reoccurring laminitis and an overly hairy coat or delayed shedding (hirsutism).

However blood testing is becoming more commonly used to detect the disease and confirm diagnosis.

The campaign, launched by drug research and development company Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica and supported by the British Horse Society, Redwings Horse Sanctuary and World Horse Welfare, allows owners £15 off a blood test with their local vet.

Vouchers can be found at www.talkaboutcushings.co.uk