Muscles problems in horses

Equine motor neuron disease (EMND)Muscle biopsy in a horseMuscle biopsy in a horse

 

A muscle problem is an important cause of lack of performance in horses. Until 10 years ago, everybody thought that muscle pain, stiffness with lack of performance was caused by Monday morning disease or tying up (equine excertional rhabdomyolysis). However, during the last years research has described different causes such as hereditary diseases (polysaccharide storage myopathie (PSSM), hyperkaelemic periodic paralysis (HYPP) in quarter horses, food and training related problems (i.e. overtraining, equine motor neuron disease; Fig. 1).

Different diagnostic procedures such as general clinical exam in rest and during exercise, blood analysis, food analysis, exercise tests with ECG, electromyelogram (EMG) and muscle biopsy (Fig. 2 and 3) can be performed in-house to determine the cause of the problem. Genetic disease tests are performed in a specialised lab.

An adequate therapy is recommended when the exact cause is determined.

Contact: Da. Laurence Lefère and Dr. Dominique De Clercq