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Reduce sporadic episodes of exertional rhabdomyolysis by providing plenty of forage and meeting these unique equine athletes’ nutrient requirements.
Posted by Jennifer Madera, DVM | Apr 25, 2022
The endurance horse is a distance athlete with high nutritional demands to support his work. Competitors can cover 25 to 100 miles in a single day. One health risk endurance can pose is exertional rhabdomyolysis (ER) or “tying-up.” This is a condition where a horse experiences some degree of muscle stiffness usually shortly after starting exercise. It might progress to severe muscle damage or necrosis, and renal (kidney) failure secondary to myoglobinuria, which is the presence of the broken-down muscle protein in urine.
Sporadic ER is a single or rare occurrence due to overwork or other confounding factors such as hot, humid weather. Veterinarians diagnose ER episodes using bloodwork. Chronic ER is a collection of heritable myopathies, including recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER), myofibrillar myopathy (MFM), and polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) types 1 and 2. Veterinarians make definitive diagnoses of these conditions via muscle biopsy. In this article, I’ll provide nutritional recommendations to decrease episodes of sporadic ER. If you’re concerned your horse could be affected by a chronic ER condition, work closely with your veterinarian, who can make a diagnosis and management plan...
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