How Much Is A Warmblood Horsewhat To Feed A Horse That Ties Upwhat Does It Mean When A Horse Wags Its Tail? (Solution)

What is a warmblood horse used for?

  • Heavy body weight, strong, gentle and calm, used for agricultural or harness work. “Warmblood” refers to a type of horse used for a specific purpose, rather than a specific breed. Any middle-weight horse can technically be considered a “warmblood” – that is, any horse that isn’t a draft or light racing breed.

What to feed a horse prone to tying up?

Some horses that are prone to Tying-Up are good-doers and cannot be fed the usual recommended ration of RE-LEVE®-Mix as this would be likely to encourage weight gain. For these horses we recommend SHAPE-UP™, a low calorie, low intake feed.

What to give a horse that is tying up?

Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium, are crucial for proper muscle function, and must be provided especially when a horse is sweating excessively and working hard. Adding vitamin E to the diet of horses prone to tying-up is also recommended to increase the muscle membrane integrity.

How do you manage a horse that ties up?

Tying-up can occur during work, or within the rest period immediately following exercise. If a horse ties-up during work, stop further exercise, unsaddle and cool the horse down slowly by walking it for 2-3 minutes to lose heat and work the muscles gently without a load.

Can Lucerne cause tying up?

To this end, the use of good quality grass or oat hay as the forage base of the diet is preferable to using pure lucerne hay for horses prone to tying up. Tip 4 – Avoid oats. Horses fed their full ration on rest days seem to be more likely to be affected by tying up once they resume work.

How long does tying up in horses last?

Recovery time may be up to 6-8 weeks, and ability to return to work will vary with severity. Horses that suffer from chronic attacks of tying up can often be managed successfully with strict exercise, management and diet protocols.

Does alfalfa cause tying up?

A small amount of alfalfa, however, can be beneficial to high-performance horses, like racehorses, as they have higher dietary energy requirements. Feeding straight alfalfa to horses with RER is not advised, as this may lead to excess energy, which may manifest as nervous behavior and trigger an episode of tying-up.

Should you walk a horse that is tying up?

If your horse is showing signs of tying-up, stop exercise immediately. If the horse can walk, get him into a stable, but if he can’t don’t force him to walk as you could cause more damage. The horse will be visibly in pain and will often sweat profusely which means the signs can sometimes be confused with colic.

Can you give banamine to a horse that is tying up?

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as bute or banamine should be minimized as they impair kidney function. Lasix should never be used unless the horse is in renal failure and has IV fluids in place. There are specific medications such as Dantrolene that are effective in helping untie the muscle.

What causes lactic acid build up in horses?

Muscles produce lactic acid continuously. It’s generated during the breakdown of glucose as an energy source. However, as the horse moves faster and needs to produce energy quickly to keep up with the demands, the aerobic pathways are too slow and more energy is generated anaerobically, producing lactate.

How do you stop lactic acid build up in horses?

Burning fat for fuel lowers lactic acid levels Fat, when used as an energy source (as compared to starches and protein), contributes to a decrease in lactic acid buildup in the muscle. Horses conditioned to use fat as energy have more stamina and recover faster after exercise.

How do you treat lactic acid build up in horses?

Lactic Acid Build-up Treatment with Leg Saver: Trot your horse during or immediately following the treatment for half an hour to enhance its effectiveness. Treatment should be administered 3 days prior to the race or event, as well as the day before the event and always the day following.

What does tying up look like in horses?

Typical signs of tying-up include a horse which becomes stiff, sweats, and is reluctant to move. Researchers have learned a great deal about tying-up—or exertional rhabdomyolysis—in recent years.

What horses should not eat PSSM?

When designing a feeding program for horses with PSSM it is important to limit energy sources containing high starch ingredients such as sweet feed, corn, wheat, oats, barley, and molasses. High fat concentrates should be used as alternative energy sources in exercising horses.

What is equine laminitis?

Laminitis is a common, extremely painful and frequently recurrent condition in horses, ponies and donkeys. It has significant welfare implications for owners. This condition affects the tissues (laminae) bonding the hoof wall to pedal bone in the hoof.

Are electrolytes good for horses?

Electrolytes are essential minerals that play a vital role in a horse’s fluid retention, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, even digestion. Electrolytes are involved in nearly every bodily function. Horses with electrolyte deficiencies will experience fatigue and decreased performance.

Tying-Up in Horses

Nettie Liburt is a member of the Equine Science Center’s support staff. Carey Williams is an Extension Specialist in Equine Management at the University of Kentucky. A variety of proteins, electrolytes, carbohydrates, and repeated usage are required for muscles to function properly. Muscles are complicated tissues that require a variety of proteins, electrolytes, sugars, and frequent usage in order to operate regularly There are a wide range of medical problems that can have a direct impact on muscle function.

This disease is referred to as tying-up, or rhabdomyolysis, and it is analogous to the intense cramps that a human could have during a workout.

It is possible for horses to get colicky when tied up, and depending on the intensity of the episode and the individual muscles that are affected, they may refuse to move or even behave colicky.

Defining Types of Rhabdomyolysis

Equine tying-up incidents can be divided into three categories based on the source of the muscle damage:

  1. Respiratory rhabdomyolysis (RER)
  2. Polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM)
  3. Recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis
  1. Inflammatory myopathy, nutritional myopathy, and toxic myopathy are all types of myopathy.

This information sheet will discuss the condition known as exertional rhabdomyolysis (ER). Exertional rhabdomyolysis is a type of tying-up that occurs as a result of physical activity and/or exercise in the body. This condition has also been referred to as “Monday Morning Sickness” and “azoturia.” Tie-ups can occur on a random basis or on a chronic one (recurrent). Sporadic ER is more likely to develop when a horse is required to exercise above his normal capabilities, or when the horse is subjected to a great quantity of stress as a result of the activity or the surroundings.

  • Chronic ER is defined as the recurrence of ER on a regular basis.
  • RER is the more common of the two conditions (PSSM).
  • Research shows that RER may be caused by an aberrant control of calcium concentration within the muscle cell, according to certain findings.
  • PSSM is the medical term for this ailment.
  • Type I is the more common type.
  • The mutation that causes Type 1 PSSM is a dominant characteristic that can be passed on to a foal if the mare or stallion who caused the mutation is also afflicted.

It is currently unknown what the cause(s) of Type II PSSM is or are not. Both forms of PSSM horses will have clinical indications of tying-up that are comparable.

What to Look For

In response to being tied, horses might exhibit a range of physical symptoms. Some are self-evident, while others need the use of critical thinking abilities. Some indications are so subtle that only medical diagnostics can tell whether or not a horse is now experiencing or has just suffered an episode.

Physical Signs

  • It usually happens immediately after the start of exercise or quickly after the finish of activity. Causing little and perhaps unnoticed tightness on the horse’s back, or in more severe situations, making the animal reluctant to move
  • Firmness and soreness develop in the lower back, gluteal muscles, and thigh muscles. The gait gets short and rigid as time goes on. Excessive sweating, rapid, shallow breathing, and an elevated heart rate are all seen, which are similar to the symptoms of colic. Symptoms of severe myoglobinuria include dark brown or reddish-colored urine, which indicates the breakdown of a muscle protein called myoglobin. Myoglobin is harmful to the kidneys, and it should be avoided.


  • Increased levels of the enzymes creatine kinase (CK), aspartate transaminase (AST), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), among others, are seen in the blood. These enzymes are generally located in muscle cells, and they are produced when muscle cells are destroyed during an episode of tying-up, which causes the muscle cells to become damaged. As a result, excessively high levels of creatinine, aspartate aminotransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase will be detected in the blood
  • It is also typical to take a urinalysis in order to identify electrolyte imbalances as well as the presence of myoglobin, which would suggest that the patient is tying up
  • Samples of muscle tissue are obtained from the semimembranosis or semitendonosus muscle (hamstring muscles), which are stained and examined under a microscope for signs of disease. Equine RER muscle tissue differs from normal muscle tissue in appearance, and only a competent scientist or veterinarian can detect the difference between the two. Having your veterinarian collect a sample of whole blood or hair with roots still attached and sending it to a genetic testing laboratory is the most common method of obtaining genetic results. The existence or absence of a mutation in the glycogen synthase-1 gene will be determined by this procedure.


Among other things, higher levels of the enzymes creatine kinase (CK), aspartate transaminase (AST), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) have been found in recent blood tests. When muscle cells become injured during an episode of tying-up, these enzymes are released. These enzymes are typically located in muscle cells and are released when those muscle cells become damaged. Atypically high levels of creatinine, aspartate aminotransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase will be seen in the blood as a consequence.

Samples of muscle tissue are obtained from the semimembranosis or semitendonosus muscle (hamstring muscles), which are stained and examined under a microscope for signs of infection.

Having your veterinarian extract a sample of whole blood or hair with roots still attached and submitting it to a genetic testing laboratory is the most common method of obtaining genetic information.

  1. Maintain hydration
  2. Replenish electrolytes
  3. Relieve discomfort
  4. And relax muscles. Monitor the blood and urine for signs of muscle injury on a regular basis. Continue to protect muscles from additional injury while simultaneously increasing blood flow and muscular movement If required, carefully massage the horse dry, and then cover him with a blanket if the weather is cold.


It is determined by the reason whether a single tying-up episode or a chronic condition should be treated. The design of training programs should be done with caution, and the intensity and length should be raised gradually to avoid overexertion, especially in horses with chronic ER. A stressful event (such as trailering, isolation from stablemates, or overexertion) or the horse’s habitat are frequently responsible for incidents of tying-up, thus it is important to make the horse’s living environment as pleasant as possible (see Rutgers NJAES fact sheet FS656 on managing stress).

  1. It goes without saying that a nutritionally-balanced diet that is low in non-structural carbohydrates (such as flour and sugar) is vital for maintaining optimal health, but it can also help to prevent electrolyte imbalances and vitamin shortages.
  2. Electrolytes, including as sodium, potassium, and calcium, are essential for normal muscular function.
  3. Vitamin E at doses of up to 5,000 IU per day has been proven to be useful in reducing the leaking of muscle enzymes from the cells.
  4. Insulin is a hormone that permits your body to accept the sugar (glucose) from dietary carbs and store it as glycogen for later use.
  5. As a result, flour and sugar should account for no more than 10–15 percent of the diet of PSSM horses, and no more than 20 percent of the diet of RER horses.
  6. Tying-up in horses may be reduced by feeding them a diet rich in fat and low in carbs, according to research.

This may be due to the greater availability of free fatty acids as energy sources and a decreased reaction of insulin to a high fat diet, which may help to explain the findings (thus less glycogen accumulation in muscle cells).

Take-Home Message

This fact sheet was created to assist you in learning more about tying-up, including the reasons, diagnostic procedures, and treatment options available. This material is not intended to be a substitute for veterinary treatment; if you feel that your horse is suffering from a health concern, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. The ailment known as “tying-up” is characterized by severe muscular cramping in the horse. While the illness can manifest itself in a variety of ways, effective treatment, training, and a well-balanced diet are all necessary components in order to keep episodes to a minimum.

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Knowing exactly what type of ER a horse has been diagnosed with makes management a whole lot easier for everyone involved.

Treatment of horses who have been tied up is frequently as simple as excellent management, but it should be directed by your veterinarian and a competent nutritionist to ensure the best possible outcome.

References and Suggested Reading

  1. RJ Piercy and JL Rivero published a paper in 2004 titled Equine athletes’ muscle disoders are a kind of muscle disoder. Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery is a book published by the American Veterinary Medical Association. KW Hinchcliff, AJ Kaneps, and RJ Geor, eds., Saunders, London, England, pp. 81–92
  2. Valberg, S.J. 2016, p. 81–92
  3. Hinchcliff, K.W., AJ Kaneps, and RJ Geor, eds., Saunders, London, England, pp. 81–92
  4. Hinchcliff, K.W., AJ Kan How to feed horses who are suffering from exertional myopathies. Proceedings of the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention. 62:520–522
  5. Valberg, S. 2016. Proceedings of the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention. The Equine Neuromuscular Diagnostic Laboratory website is hosted by Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. S. Valberg’s laboratory at Michigan State University was accessed on December 29, 2016
  6. Valberg, S. (2005, 2005). a. The therapy of sporadic and recurring equine exertional rhabdomyolysis is discussed in detail in the next section. Pg. 197–203
  7. Valberg, S. 2005b. Equine exertional rhabdomyolysis: treatment of polysaccharide storage myopathy. Proceedings of the Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference. Pg. 197–203. Pp. 204–208 in the Proceedings of the Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference
  8. Williams, C. A. 2005. Are you putting a lot of pressure on your horse? A project of Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension, code number FS656. Pp. 1–4
  9. Williams, C. A., D. S. Kronfeld, T. M. Hess, K. E. Saker, and P. A. Harris. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Williams, C. A., D. S. Kronfeld, T. M. Hess, K. E. Saker, and P. A. Harris. 2004. Endurance exercise-induced oxidative stress, muscle enzyme leakage, and apoptosis are all reduced in horses when they are given lipoic acid and vitamin E treatment. The Elite Race and Endurance Horse is a book on elite race and endurance horses. Edited by Arno Lindner and published by the Centre for European Studies in Oslo (CESMAS), Norway, pp. 105–119

Piercy, R.J., and J.L. Rivero (2004) published an article in the journal Science. Equestrian athletes’ muscle deconditioners. Sports Medicine and Surgery for Horses is a book published by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Valberg, S.J. 2016. In KW Hinchcliff, AJ Kaneps, and RJ Geor (eds), Saunders, London, England, pages 81–92; Hinchcliff, KW; Kaneps, AJ; and Geor, RJ; Hinchcliff, KW; Kaneps, AJ; and Geor, RJ; Hinchcliff, KW; Hinchcliff, KW; Hinchcliff, KW; Hinch Equine exertional myopathies: What to Feed Them 2016, AAEPC Convention Proceedings, 62:520–522; Valberg, S.

  1. Proceedings of the 2016 AAEPC Convention, 62:520–522.
  2. S.
  3. The management of spontaneous and recurring equine exertional rhabdomyolysis is discussed in detail in the following article: 197–203; Valberg, S.
  4. Equine exertional rhabdomyolysis: treatment of polysaccharide storage myopathy.
  5. 204–208; Williams, C.
  6. 2005.
  7. Are you putting your horse through unnecessary stress?
  8. Chapters 1–4; Williams, C.
  9. S.
  10. Harris.
  11. Endurance exercise-induced oxidative stress, muscle enzyme leakage, and apoptosis are all reduced in horses when they are given lipoic acid and vitamin E supplements.

The Elite Race and Endurance Horse is a book on horses that are elite in their respective fields. CESMAS, Oslo, Norway, pp. 105–119, edited by Arno Lindner.

What is Tying up in horses?

Team Marketing | October 18, 2010 Exertional Rhabdomyolysis, Tying-up, Azoturia, Monday Morning Sickness, and Poly Saccharide Storage are all conditions that can occur after strenuous exercise. Myopathy is a term used to describe a variety of typical muscle metabolic issues. Rhabdomyolysis is the scientific term for tying up, which may be translated as “muscle (myo) disintegration” in plain English (lysis). Muscle cramping can be caused by a variety of factors, all of which have the same outcome.

  • Muscles contract and do not release as they should.
  • They will look to be in a great deal of discomfort.
  • This is because they are.
  • If the cramping is severe enough, the myoglobin produced from the injured muscle travels from the bloodstream to the kidneys and then into the urine, resulting in the urine being a dark red hue due to the presence of myoglobin.
  • Eventually, this can lead to kidney failure.
  • The horse’s stride shortens in the middle of the ride (or, in some cases, just towards the finish), and he begins to cramp up.
  • However, despite the fact that a variety of distinct muscle disorders generate the same symptoms, there are essentially two forms of real ‘Tying-up’: Acute and Chronic Tying-up.

Signs of Tying up

The indications and symptoms of tying up differ depending on the severity of the ailment and the speed with which it manifests itself. On a more minor scale, the horse’s stride progressively grows stiffer and he becomes unwilling to proceed. The horse’s muscles are truly cramping, and the sensation is quite similar to that experienced by human athletes suffering from muscular cramps. Affected muscles are most commonly found in the massive, heavy muscles of the hind legs, although the triceps muscles located above each elbow in the front legs can also be tight and painful.

  1. The affected horse may appear to be colicking, but the primary distinction is that horses who are tying up may have stiff or very rigid big muscles in their hind legs, and the horse will paw the ground or seek to lie down as a result of this condition.
  2. Because myoglobin is released by the injured muscle fibers, the horse’s urine will turn a dark reddish-brown hue if there is significant muscle damage.
  3. When horses were used for work, a prevalent concern was “Monday morning’s illness,” which was caused by a virus.
  4. When horses become overexcited, such as during a show, breeding, or traveling, they may knot up.
  5. Every now and again, you come across the horse that has tied itself up for no apparent reason.
  6. The stiffness in the back limbs, as well as the rigid, aching muscles, are readily apparent.

Milder instances, on the other hand, may manifest as diminished performance or a nonspecific lameness that originates in the rear or hind end. When there is a possibility of tying up, blood tests can be used to confirm the diagnosis by looking for elevated levels of muscle enzymes.

Causes of Tying up

A horse that is prone to tying up might be susceptible to a variety of various stimuli at the same time. It is possible that it will not be practical or essential to correct them all. Learn what elements cause an attack in your horse and take steps to reduce the likelihood of it occurring. Attempt to deal with training, spelling, nutrition, and environmental stress. Keep a journal in order to spot patterns. There have been various hypotheses put out as to why the tying up occurred. The fact that horses respond differently to different therapies and have varied histories clearly suggests that we are dealing with multiple separate illnesses.

  • The horse’s glucose metabolism has been altered. Recent research has discovered that faulty glucose metabolism is the root cause of tying up in several breeds of dogs. Stress-induced hypotension and nervousness Deficiencies in electrolytes – Horses that tie up during or after exercise are more likely to suffer electrolyte deficiencies. Using basic blood tests, it is not possible to identify these imbalances. Mineral shortage (deficiency in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and selenium)
  • Lactate accumulation
  • The muscles are not getting enough oxygen because of a lack of oxygen. Vitamin E deficiency
  • Selenium deficiency Hypothyroidism
  • Unbalanced hormone levels
  • Dehydration
  • An imbalance in the Ca:P ratio
  • Mineral ratios in the diet that are out of equilibrium
  • Excessive effort during training
  • Training has undergone significant adjustments. Inheritance through genetics

Types of Tying up

According to our present understanding, horses that experience episodes of Tying up may be classified into one of two major categories: (1) horses who experience episodes of Tying up and (2) horses who do not experience episodes of Tying up and do not experience episodes of Tying up.

  1. Sporadic (acute) exertional rhabdomyolysis is a kind of rhabdomyolysis that occurs in horses which, on rare occasions, undergo an episode of global tying-up, and is classified as such. Muscle stiffness and cramping are common symptoms of this condition. In horses, chronic exertional rhabdomyolysis (CER) occurs when the animal encounters a series of episodes of ER, with the first event generally happening at a very early age. This may be a significant concern, and repeated instances of tying up may eventually result in irreparable muscular damage.

Dr Valberg, a researcher, discovered a separate genetic ailment in Quarter horses, Appaloosas, Paints, Warmbloods, and certain Thoroughbreds, which he named “Quarter Horse Syndrome.” This condition is referred to as Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM). Affected horses have up to one-and-a-half times the amount of glycogen in their muscle cells as normal horses, and this may be detected using specific staining methods on muscle biopsies taken from affected horses. Horses with this condition have a higher glucose clearance test result and a higher insulin sensitivity.

The indications are the same as those associated with ordinary Tying up.

Management of Tying up

Tie-up and diet are intimately related, and the most effective preventative interventions are focused on proper nutrition and physical activity management. The typical scenario is the horse that has been fed a lot of grain and then given a day off, which is why it is known as ‘Monday morning illness.

Dietary management

The supply of a diet containing – is critical in this regard.

  • High cereal grain diets can exceed the usual digestive processes of the small intestine, resulting in an overabundance of undigested and semi-digested grains being excreted into the caecum and colon of the large intestine, causing constipation and diarrhea. In the large intestine, fermented foods cause a rise in lactic acid production, variation in blood glucose and hormone levels, increased heat of digestion – which the horse must sweat to cool off – and an increase in fluid and electrolyte losses, among other things. Vitamin and mineral levels that are well-balanced – particularly vitamin E and selenium
  • Right quantities and proportions of the various electrolytes
  • And A significant amount of oil is present. Oils give slow-release energy and help to keep blood glucose levels stable over time. Horses on a high-oil diet had reduced lactate levels in their blood. Hay of superior grade
  • Thiamine, Magnesium, and Chromium are examples of supplements that can help to alleviate uneasiness and tension.

HYGAIN® RELEASE® is a medication designed particularly for high-performance horses that are prone to tying up. When it comes to starch (carbohydrates), HYGAIN® RELEASE® is rich in fat, and it is meant to be provided with more roughage than is often offered to performance horses. HYGAIN® RELEASE® also contains a significant amount of Vitamin EC, as well as selenium, magnesium, and calcium, among other nutrients. Lower-starch choices for equestrian horses in training and competition include HYGAIN® SHOWTORQUE®, a high-fat, cereal grain-free feed for horses in moderate work that contains no corn or other grains.

It is very necessary when using an electrolyte that is balanced, which means feeding your horse the same quantities of electrolytes that are lost throughout the exercise session.

It is possible that an excessive strain on the large intestine would manifest itself as colic, laminitis, and tying up. All grains used in HYGAIN® feeds are either micronized or extruded before being utilized in the feed.

Exercise schedule

Individual variations in horse fitness, metabolic rate, and individual variance will determine how effective this is, but certain fundamental concepts appear to be good.

  • A program that is constant and regimented, with no days off in between
  • Graduating the degree of exercise with a gradual increase in intensity as fitness improves is recommended. Following hard labor, a steady trot or canter should be performed to encourage the transport of oxygen to the muscles as well as the clearance of lactic acid from the muscles to the liver. Equitation must be properly warmed up and cooled down.
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Management practices

  • Avoiding stress and excitement – It is preferable to decrease effervescent, restless behavior in horses, particularly in those who are extremely energetic. Caecum fermentation causes the ‘heating’ effect of cereal grains, resulting in fast increases in blood glucose levels and energy levels in the body. Rapid variations in blood glucose levels produce fluctuations in insulin, cortisol, and thyroid hormone levels, which stimulate metabolic rate and restless behavior in the affected individuals. Processed grains, such as those that have been micronized, do not have the same impacts as raw grains. Increase the frequency of feedings since stabled horses may grow bored and begin nibbling and chewing on wood, stable fittings, and bedding. Smaller, more frequent meals extend chewing time, hence minimizing boredom. Horses with certain medical conditions may require medication, and the specific therapy provided will be determined by clinical and laboratory examinations.

Veterinary Treatment

Treatment for a minor case of Tying up may consist of taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (e.g., Phenylbutazone) and resting for 3-5 days before gradually increasing activities. The majority of the time, a reduction in workout intensity and grain consumption will be suggested. After the horse has been tied up, sedatives such as Acepromazine, which promotes drowsiness and relaxation by depressing the central nervous system, may be administered to alleviate the anxiety and spasms that have developed.

  • Veterinarians may administer immediate intravenous Thiamine or intramuscular Vitamin E and Selenium injections to the horses in order to help in their recovery, or they may administer monthly preventive treatments in order to reduce the likelihood of tying up episodes occurring.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) and/or pain relievers may be required throughout the healing process.
  • In extreme situations, it is necessary to restrict mobility in order to avoid the possibility of irreversible muscle injury.
  • Tight exercise, management, and feeding regimens for horses that suffer from persistent instances of tying up may frequently be used to great effect in managing the problem.
  • Management measures that aim to decrease stressful circumstances while maintaining a consistent and peaceful workplace may also be beneficial.

Basic check list for Tying up

  • Put an end to the horse’s exercise and put it in a box stall. Make no attempt to coerce the horse towards walking. Make an appointment with your veterinarian. If the weather is chilly, rug the horse. Determine whether the horse has become dehydrated as a result of excessive sweating. In most cases, when a horse’s skin is pinched, it will spring back, and the horse’s saliva should be moist rather than sticky. Hydration should be provided in the form of little, regular sips of water. If electrolytes (potassium, sodium, and chloride) are pleasant to the horse, they can be given to the drinking water as a supplement. Plain water should always be provided as a back-up option in emergencies. If your horse is dehydrated, your veterinarian may recommend intravenous fluids to treat the condition. Once the horse has cooled down, he or she can have unlimited access to water. Anxiety and discomfort can be relieved. Your veterinarian may prescribe medications for you. Remove grain and feed from the equation
  • Only hay should be provided until the indications subside. Hand walking or a short paddock turnout is beneficial until the horse is able to move freely on its own, which is generally within 12-24 hours. When the horse’s blood creatine kinase (blood enzyme) level is normal, gradually return him to his prior work level. Whether the disease recurs, the horse should be assessed to see if there is a particular explanation for the repeated exertional rhabdomyolysis. Take into consideration modifying the diet, feeding less grain and more fat, and ensuring that the mineral intake is well-balanced. High amounts of vitamins E and C as well as minerals such as selenium and magnesium could be beneficial (see dietitians).

However, while the chemistry of Tying up is well recognized, the mechanisms that contribute to it are not so well understood. In addition to ingesting an excessive amount of unprocessed grain for their activity level, horses may get tangled as a result of dehydration, glucose depletion, electrolyte imbalances, mineral and vitamin shortages, over exercise, stress, and hormonal fluctuation, among other factors. Because there are several potential causes of this ailment, it is critical to have a complete veterinary examination performed to discover which elements are involved in each horse’s case in order to design an accurate treatment and management strategy.

One final aspect that should be stressed is that there is currently no solution for horses suffering from chronic types of tying-up, such as RER and PSSM.

These disorders have also been demonstrated to be passed down via families in rare cases. The key to combating these diseases is to maintain close supervision over your horse. The likelihood of your horse tying up should be lessened if you maintain proper nutrition and exercise habits.


Stephanie Valberg, DVM, PhD is the author of this article. I recently purchased a Thoroughbred filly who had been in racing training but had to be retired due to recurring bouts of “tying-up.” I plan to race her in the fall. She had been turned out for six months prior to my acquisition of her, and she shown no signs of distress while on the farm. What information do you have about this disease? ‘Tying-up’ is a condition or description of a horse suffering from muscular injury, which can be caused by a variety of factors.

  • There is no one treatment for this condition because there are various reasons, some of which appear to be hereditary.
  • In recent years, researchers have gained a significant lot of knowledge regarding tying-up, also known as exertional rhabdomyolysis.
  • So what was thought to be a disease with a single underlying cause, such as lactic acid, is actually a broad-scale condition that would require ongoing research on a variety of fronts before every element is fully understood, as some early researchers discovered.
  • As a result, the management of a Thoroughbred suffering from tying-up would differ from the management of a Quarter Horse suffering from tying-up, and the treatment of a backyard pleasure horse suffering from the same symptoms would differ from the management of a racehorse.
  • It is found that they respond well to rest, a gradual return to a graded exercise program, and a well-balanced diet.
  • In our investigation, we discovered that there might be a variety of genetic explanations for persistent tying up.
  • In order for muscles to contract, electrical impulses must travel through the outside cell membrane and along membranous connections that extend within the cell.

Energy-dependent pumping of calcium back into storage sites is required for muscle relaxation to occur.

Given the limited genetic origins of Thoroughbreds and the common lineage of the pedigrees of horses with tying-up, there is a strong possibility that this is an inherited trait in these animals.

Stress, excitement, lameness, high-grain diets, and exercise at submaximal speeds are all examples of precipitating events in this case.

A standardized daily routine, as well as an environment that minimizes stress and excitement, should be implemented in order to prevent further episodes of tying-up in horses who are susceptible to the condition.

The use of sweet feed weighing less than five pounds and the addition of additional calories in the form of fat can help to reduce muscle damage caused by exercise.

It is possible that medications such as dantrolene, administered to fasted horses 90 minutes before exercise, will be effective in preventing anticipated episodes of tying-up.

A buildup of glycogen (a sugar storage form) and an abnormal sugar (polysaccharide) in skeletal muscle distinguishes it from other types of diabetes.

McCue, Mickelson, and Valberg at the University of Minnesota, it has been determined that there are at least two forms of this disease.

Type 1 PSSM is found in a large number of Quarter Horses and related breeds, draft breeds, some warmblood breeds, and a variety of other breeds, among others.

PSSMhorse’s muscle produces glycogen on a continuous basis as a result of this mutation.

Equine athletes who suffer from this condition experience stiffness, muscle cramping, and soreness after light exercise, which is most likely caused by a lack of energy generation in their muscles.

PSSM type 1 horses are typically calm and sedate, and they tie up after a lay-up, which is especially common when grain is fed.

Type 2 PSSM has a slightly different microscopic appearance and is thought to be caused by a genetic mutation that is still unknown.

A DNA-based blood or hair root test can now diagnose type 1 PSSM; however, a muscle biopsy is still required for type 2 PSSM to be diagnosed.

It is possible for horses to develop severe episodes of tying up when MH and type 1PSSM occur at the same time, which can be fatal.

Eliminating grain and sweet feed completely and substituting fats such as rice bran or vegetable oils for grain and sweet feed helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and provide fat for energy metabolism.

Mild to moderate clinical signs in horses could potentially return to full athletic performance with careful dietary and management changes, which should include regular daily exercise without extended periods of inactivity, according to the ASPCA.

Horses can now be prescreened for type 1 PSSM at the University of Minnesota Diagnostic Laboratory, which has recently opened.

If your horse becomes entangled, the following are some suggestions: 1) Remove the horse from the exercise ring and place it in a box stall.

2) Make an appointment with your veterinarian.

4) Check to see if the horse has become dehydrated as a result of excessive sweating.

6) Helps to alleviate anxiety and discomfort.

7) Remove all grain and feed from the premises and supply only hay until the symptoms diminish.

If the condition recurs, the horse should be assessed to see whether there is a particular cause of exertional rhabdomyolysis.

Dr. Valberg, together with Drs. McCue and Mickelson, are the inventors of the PSSM genetic test, which was developed by them. Dr. Valberg’s research and development are supported in part by a percentage of the income from ReLeve.

What Your Horse’s Tail Tells You

The tail of a horse is undoubtedly his most attractive and flexible physical feature, whether it is wispy or luscious, flowing or braided, or pounded and twisted. The tail is much more than just an adornment or a glorified flyswatter; it serves a variety of functions. As a means of communication, it is simple and eloquent in its communication with both horses and humans; as a barometer of equine health, it transmits vital messages about an animal’s well-being; as a protective shield, it aids in temperature regulation and protects delicate reproductive structures from the effects of the environment; and as a mechanism of balance, it subtly influences the alignment of the horse’s hind end.

How is it possible for a structure that is primarily valued for its aesthetic appeal to also serve as a useful appendage?

Horses communicate with one another through their body language, and the tail is one of their most expressive “speaking” organs.

Anatomy of an equine tail

The horse’s tail is a component of his spinal column, and it is both flexible and robust. This structure is made up of around 18 vertebrae, with some horses having more and some having less. From the base of the tail to the tip of the tail, the bones get smaller and more pointed as they advance along the length of the tail. The overall movement of the horse’s tail is controlled by parts of the semitendinosus muscles, which stretch across the horse’s rump and attach to the spinal vertebrae. Muscle-fiber bundles situated in the tail itself, above, below, and on either side of the bones assist in making fine modifications to the tail’s curvature and posture, as well as its overall shape.

  • As a result, injuries heal more slowly and infections are more likely to linger for longer periods of time.
  • For example, the skin is five-eighths of an inch thick at the point where the tail joins to the buttocks, which is as much as a half-inch thicker than the skin anywhere else on the horse.
  • Each tail hair is composed of three layers: an inner core (medulla); a middle cortical layer composed of long, twisted protein strands; and an outside covering known as the cuticle, which protects and shields the hair from the environment.
  • It is the central layer of hair that affects whether a hair is curly or straight in appearance.
  • In contrast, if too many strands with comparable qualities are gathered together, the cortex becomes unbalanced, resulting in the development of waves in the hair.
  • The Bashkir Curly is the most extreme example of an eccentric cortex because not only is his tail and mane frizzy, but his entire body is covered with split curls.
  • These horses, like their curly-coated cousins, are endowed with a unique mix of DNA that allows them to grow their spectacular manes and tail.

What no one truly knows, however, is why the horse is the only member of the equine family to have such long, flowing locks, as opposed to the other members of the equine family. His past, on the other hand, may provide some insight.

The evolution of horse’s tails

In past waters, species that moved in straight lines by pushing with their tails rose to the top of the food chain, where they were joined by sharks and other fish. Even as their ungainly legs began to appear, amphibians preserved their strong propelling tails. Land reptiles (dinosaurs) had protruding legs that protruded from the sides of their massive bodies eons before the emergence of the horse species. The capacity of these animals to move from one location to another was dependent on their long, hefty tails.

  1. It was already past the point of being usable as a locomotor device when the horse’s early progenitor hyracotherium first emerged somewhere during the Eocene era, indicating that the tail had become entirely nonfunctional.
  2. Its knees were curled inside, its elbows were turned backward, and its limbs were tucked beneath its torso for protection.
  3. “Hyracotherium relied on its ability to move quickly in order to avoid its predators,” he explains.
  4. Essentially, it was liberated up in order to become what it is now.” According to Sumida, the horse’s caudal appendage performs only marginally better than the functional skills of other mammalian tails in comparison to their own functional capacities.
  5. Why, therefore, was the horse tail kept at all, given its slightly lessened significance?
  6. The natural world, she continues, “has a propensity to maintain some indication of the primordial.” Evolutionary processes demonstrate this repeatedly, says the author.
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How horses “talk” with their tails

Horses communicate with one another through their body language, and the tail is one of their most expressive “speaking” organs. Within the herd, as well as between horses and riders, it is utilized to relay information about the horses’ physical and emotional status to one another. The horse is the quintessential herd animal, and his entire life is dependent on the cooperation of his equine companions. Horses have evolved a sophisticated system of tail signals over millions of years that allows members of a herd to “debate” issues that are critical to the group’s survival.

  1. When in the presence of stallions, mares in heat will raise their tails up and to one side, in the manner of a “come hither” motion, to show their sexual receptiveness to the stallions present.
  2. The capacity of the herd to communicate with one another and recognize danger is critical to the group’s survival.
  3. Stop what you’re doing and await further instructions!” Protective stallions will elevate their tails, prance, and defecate in order to warn away intruders during their demonstrations.
  4. In groups of two, long-time friends happily brush flies from each other’s faces as they stand head-to-tail in the sunshine.
  5. Nevertheless, too loud children and aggressive upstarts are frequently deterred by an older’s bent back and twitching tail, which indicates that the senior is about to administer a good, rapid kick to the offender.
  6. What Do You Mean, “That”?
  7. And a horse owner who “tunes in” quickly learns to read and respond to the body language of his or her equine charges.
  8. The tail is also a good indicator of the horse’s health.
  9. As she explains, “the action causes him psychological or bodily distress,” and “the scenario should be studied to determine the main cause of the problem.” Two different methods may be used to decode another signal, which has a tightly clamped tail.

“Be prepared for a buck or a kick,” Houpt tells his audience. However, if the horse is standing motionless, appearing uncomfortable, and periodically stomping his feet, this is an indicator of discomfort in the horse’s hindquarters’ tummy.

Keep your horse’s tail healthy

Cleanliness and excellent condition are the most important factors in maintaining a tail’s attractive aesthetics and functionality. Unfortunately, even though the horse tail’s skin seems robust and its hairs appear impenetrable, the tail is not immune to damage or disease like the rest of the body. However, the distinction between lush and scraggly may be made by taking good care of the plant. Sebum produced by oil glands at the base of the hair follicles helps to keep tail hairs elastic and lustrous, which helps to keep them healthy.

  • These are the victims of the body’s ongoing replenishment cycle, and they are totally normal.
  • When it comes to cleaning, expert trainers and grooms recommend just washing the tail when absolutely essential.
  • A once-a-month once-over is sufficient to keep tail hair looking healthy and lustrous.
  • Indulge your hair all the way down to your tailbone, then massage a light wash into the core strands of your hair.
  • Wash your hair once more until the water runs clean, using a high-quality conditioner and allowing it to sit for several minutes.
  • If possible, wait until the hair is totally dry before picking out any tangles with a comb or your fingers.
  • However, avoid using hard plastic grooming aids, as they have a tendency to damage hair shafts and pluck out healthy hairs from the scalp.
  • Take a one-inch hunk of hair and fan it out to untangle the individual strands of hair.
  • When used as a grooming tool, baby oil improves the condition and luster of the hair while also assisting in the treatment of dandruff.
  • It first appeared in the August 1993 issue of EQUUS magazine, and has since been updated.

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Managing Tying-Up in Horses

According to one racehorse trainer, a filly that ties up on the post parade sweats, her heart rate increases, and the muscles in her hindquarters grow stiff. Her muscle cells appear to be in a frenzy as a result of the anticipation of the upcoming race. An owner of a Quarter Horse reports that his young horse cramps and gets very uncomfortable on some days, making him unfit for riding. The circumstances surrounding this occurrence do not appear to have any rhyme or purpose to it. The owner of a Belgian colt is baffled by the situation.

He is growing increasingly unstable when standing on three legs, making it dangerous to perform routine hoof care.

Researchers have divided the broad condition known as tying-up into separate syndromes, according to their findings.

Despite the fact that one is slightly different from the other, they all appear to share a genetic basis.

In order to make this finding, researchers had to take muscle from between two rib cages and study it for a few weeks.

Compared to muscle from normal horses, muscle from RER horses behaved differently in that it was far more responsive to contractions caused by particular substances.

When the researchers evaluated Quarter Horses, they found that there was no aberrant reaction, demonstrating that there is a differentiation between RER and PSSM.

Chronic exertional rhabdomyolysis is identified in horses who have an infrequent episode of exercise-induced muscle pathology, whereas sporadic exertional rhabdomyolysis is diagnosed in horses that experience many episodes of exercise-induced muscle pathology.

Horses suffering with this condition are able to utilise glycogen to fuel their muscles in the same way that normal horses do.

Overproduction of glycogen in muscle tissue may be caused by increased insulin sensitivity in muscle tissue, a condition that may manifest itself as early as six months of life.

It is insulin that stimulates the muscle to absorb glucose from the bloodstream.

The clinical manifestations of the two diseases, on the other hand, differ significantly in several ways.

Prevalent stock-type breeding (PSSM) is primarily a problem for quarter horses, paint horses, appaloosas, and crossbred horses with this stock-type breeding.

Finally, RER may be found in racing Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, and Arabians, as well as in breeding stock.

The indications are as follows: Although the signs and symptoms of the three myopathies are remarkably similar, there are significant distinctions between them.

RER:firm, painful loin and croup muscles at the start of exercise; excessive perspiration, fast breathing, reluctance to move, muscular tremors.

Sweating; stretching as if to urinate; muscular fasciculations; rolling or pawing after activity; inability to move immediately following the commencement of exercise are all symptoms of post-stroke syndrome.

The diagnosis was made The reliability of test data is critical in making a definitive diagnosis of illness.

A blood sample as well as a muscle biopsy should be obtained in order to confirm a diagnosis of RER.

RER can be verified if the levels of these two enzymes in the bloodstream are significantly elevated.

Muscle biopsy is recommended for the confirmation of a PSSM or EPSM diagnosis in both cases.

The majority of veterinarians are capable of doing a muscle biopsy (see EquiNews 8:2 for an in-depth look at how muscle is collected for biopsy).

When a good diet and other management measures are in place, many horses may be handled successfully.

Good-quality grass or legume hay is appropriate for horses who are subjected to frequent physical activity.

Most hays, regardless of whether they are grasses, legumes, or a combination of both, have low starch content, which allows fodder to be fed in sufficient quantities to keep animals at their ideal body weight.

There is one major exception to this scheme, which is as follows: It is best to avoid grain hays, such as oat or barley hays, because they may include high-starch grain kernels that cling to the stems, which will only help to increase the amount of starch in the diet.

Look for feeds that are low in starch.

If it is not evident whether a feed is low in starch and sugar, look at the ingredient list for clarification.

The following are examples of low-starch, low sugar feedstuffs: pelleted and cubed alfalfa, complete feed products meant to replace hay, and chopped hay products (all of which are low in sugar).

By gradually transitioning from one diet to another, the horse’s gastrointestinal tract is given enough time to adjust to the new food and its environment.

Physical activityManagement of physical activity is an important component of the treatment plan and should be discussed with the veterinarian who is treating the horse.

Formal work, such as trail riding, longing, driving, or arena exercise, is highly recommended.

Because of this, it is critical to engage in physical activity throughout therapy.

After a horse has been diagnosed with one of these disorders and the aforementioned dietary and activity modifications have been implemented, a realistic recovery timeframe must be established.

Over a period of many months, the disease’s symptoms normally go away if treatment measures are maintained and improved.

Equine patients with RER, PSSM, and EPSM are only beneficial for a short period of time, depending on the severity of the condition.

Because of the disease’s family character, considerable consideration should be given to removing afflicted animals from a breeding program altogether. In most situations, controlling myopathies is undoubtedly doable; nonetheless, it involves a significant change from one’s normal food routines.

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