Equine Exertional Rhabdomyolsis – Azoturia – Tying Up – Monday Morning Disease
This is a painful condition which can develop shortly after the start of exercise, commonly after some days’ rest. It damages a horse’s muscle tissue and is considered to be largely the result of genetic weaknesses. This pre-disposes victims to excessive accumulation of an abnormal form of glycogen (storage form of glucose) in the muscles. This in turn leads to problems with the energy mechanism required for exercise. Harmful waste substances thus produced cause damage to the muscle cells, leading to stiffness of varying severity and in some cases the leakage of broken protein fragments into the bloodstream. These are excreted in the urine, giving it a very dark reddish-brown colour.
Symptoms include reluctance to move, stiffness or shortened gait and muscle spasms or cramps, with hard, painful muscles (especially the hindquarters). Other signs are sweating, elevated heart and respiratory rates as a result of the pain, anxious expression, shifting of weight from side to side, and standing hunched and tense. Management afflicted horses should be moved as little as possible, as this can cause further muscle damage. If necessary use a trailer or horsebox for substantial distances. Veterinary advice and treatment is then essential to effect a prompt recovery. There is considerable advice available on-line e.g.
Diets need to be as low in starch & sugar as possible, so avoid feeding cereals such as oats, barley, wheat (bran), & maize. Legumes such as peas & beans should be avoided, as should most forms of molasses. Condensed Molasses solubles (CMS) is safe to use as it only has about 3-4% sugar. Relatively safe feeds will include chopped forage such as alfalfa and dried grass, plus blends with chopped straw, together with high energy protein sources such as cooked linseed, soya & copra.
Hay may need to be soaked & grazing restricted. The sugar content of grass is lowest at night, so this should be considered if possible.
Mineral & vitamin supplements will be required, in particular a high level of vitamin E. Care should be taken with many proprietary E supplements as they usually contain selenium which is toxic at the levels required. Pure vitamin E should be used if necessary.
For further advice complete & submit the Nutrition Enquiry form or call John Chapman on 0344 8844 850 /07721 384508 /07807 479495.
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