Equine Atypical Myopathy

Equine Atypical Myopathy (EAM) is a relatively newly recognised disease and can be fatal in a large number of cases. It is caused by the toxin found in Sycamore trees, seedlings and seeds. Horses with access to pasture during the autumn or spring months are at risk of ingesting fallen sycamore leaves, seeds or eating seedlings.

Risk factors to be aware of:

  • Young and old horses
  • Pastures previously affected with EAM
  • Heavily grazed pastures
  • Pastures with or lined by sycamore trees
  • Pastures on a slope
  • Seed dispersal following high winds

Equine Atypical Myopathy symptoms:

  • Stiffness
  • Muscle trembling
  • Reluctance to move
  • Showing signs of depression
  • Lying down
  • Dark urine

Early recognition allows swift hospitalisation and intensive care which gives your horse the best chance of survival.

Tips for prevention:

  • Avoid grazing horses on previously affected pastures during autumn when Sycamore seeds are on the ground.
  • Supplement at risk horses with hay or hard feed.
  • Stay vigilant for the clinical signs – early diagnosis is vital!

Should you ever suspect that your horse may be suffering from Equine Atypical Myopathy, please contact us as soon as possible. A false alarm is always far better than leaving your horse to suffer when you aren’t sure.

This article was taken from our November 2019 equine newsletter, which also features information on acorn poisoning and an Equine Influenza update.

Download the full November 2019 newsletter. 

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