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Horse Syndrome of Many Names:
Monday Morning, Myopathies, Typing-up or Azoturia Equine Sickness

Tying-up is the kind of syndrome that is known by many names, such as Monday morning sickness, myopathies, or azoturia. Regardless of what name you are familiar with, as a horse aficionado you have probably already faced it more than once.

A perfectly normal horse suddenly stops in the midst of an activity, shows signs of distress, and cannot or will not move.

The reasons for this occurrence are plentiful. Lactic acid may have accumulated in the muscles of blood due to exercise which in turn has led to myositis. On a cellular level, this acid is instrumental in the reduction of cellular enzymes which in turn prevents the cells from actually receiving energy from a metabolic reaction that turns feed into fats, proteins and also carbohydrates. Since the muscles cannot receive the energy

needed to function, they contract or tie-up.

Fortunately, this can be managed easily by offering your horse high quality hay and also roughage, while cutting back severely on grain, and actually changing the grain being fed to a highest quality kind to ensure proper digestion in the horse’s small intestime. As a matter of fact, over-indulgence in grain has been tied to azoturia, yet so have vitamin and mineral deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and severe dehydration. It is interesting to note that fillies more often than colts will tie-up, quite possibly because of the fact that the estrogen levels which may fluctuate also have an influence on the metabolism by controlling hormones, such as thyroxin. Interestingly, tying-up has been directly linked to a lowered thyroid level which may happen if a horse is overfed on protein rich feed.

The goal of a changed diet regimen is the reduction of tying-up incidents as well as their severity by assisting the thyroid, increasing the blood volume, permitting the animal to remain hydrated, and have plenty of vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes (which are directly connected to the concentration of potassium, chloride and also sodium in the horse’ serum) that are vital for proper muscle function. Thus, as a general rule of thumb, your horse should not receive more than 15 pounds of grain per day; if your animal requires more in order to maintain its weight, you may need to pick out a better kind of forage and also supplement with vegetable oil. Of course, one supplement that almost every veterinarian likes is beet pulp. Two to four pounds are usually recommended, since it is higher in calories than high quality alfalfa, yet does not have a detrimental effect on the horse’s digestion. If you are changing your horse’s feed, keep an eye on its sodium intake. You may be surprised to find that it could suffer from a sodium deficiency which will allow calcium excretions to rise and thereby reduce blood glucose, leading to the dreaded tying-up episodes. In addition to the foregoing, low levels of sodium may decrease the overall blood volume level.

Of course, there are also other issues that factor into tying-up. Body water level, general stamina, and also the blood volume may increase or decrease the odds of tying-up. Make sure that your horse has an adequate supply of fresh water available at all times to avoid dehydration. Make vitamins and minerals available to your horse since they will detoxify the horse. It has been found that they have a direct effect on the free radicals generated during bouts of exercise. Thus, you will want to concentrate on the animals’ intake of vitamin E, C, A as well as zinc, copper, and also selenium. Depending on your horse’s performance level, it may need more vitamins and minerals than the average pleasure horse. One caution that is advised deals with the administration of iron, which may actually increase free radicals and may therefore be contraindicated.

Read the next horse diseases article on Preventative Stall Maintenance for Healthy Horses.
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