For many horse owners, the question is often not if their horses will “tie up,” but when. Exertional rhabdomyolysis (ER) or tying up, as it is typically called, is the most common form of muscular problem in horses and also occurs in humans, many times as a result of extended exercise or change in diet.
The range can be from mild occurrences of about once per year to severe cases with repeated incidents after exercise or stress. According to Kansas State University, the condition is primarily a muscle disorder characterized by the accumulation of unusable carbohydrate in the muscle cells.
The cause is a defect in muscle metabolism resulting in inappropriately rapid processing of carbohydrate material and accumulation of abnormal polysaccharide in muscle cells. In layman’s terms this means that the animal’s muscle metabolism is having a problem handling the carbohydrates going through its system and a massive contraction of the muscle groups along the back and rump of the horse occurs. The muscles contract and do not relax.
Typical signs of tying-up include a stiff walk that, at its worse, can immobilize the horse, signs of hard painful muscles in the rear, and occasionally sweating, if the pain is severe enough.
The issue is sometimes called “Monday morning sickness” for horses that have been worked all week, then allowed to rest over the weekend without cutting back the ration of grain. While most cases of tying-up are not severe, horses will sometimes exhibit symptom after excitement, while showing, being bred or traveling. Sometimes horses will develop symptoms for seemingly no reason at all.
Veterinarians often recommend a change in diet as well as exercise routine. Horse owners should work with their veterinarian or get advice from a nutrition expert regarding the type and amount of grain being fed, as well as any vitamins or minerals that should be added, or taken away. Electrolytes can also provide relief and some protection against the syndrome, as well as added oils. Of course, good quality hay or alfalfa is a must and should be fed at appropriate levels, as well.
Horse owners should take care to exercise their horses on a consistent schedule and ensure that the length and level of exercise is appropriate to the fitness level in the horse. Be sure to warm up and cool down the horse in order to allow oxygen to flow into the muscles and release the lactic acid from the muscles to the liver.
Another remedy to add to your arsenal of treatment is one proven to reduce the effects of tying-up and ease the recovery period--Medical Muscle by the creators of FullBucket.
“Tying-up is a serious issue and needed a better solution than the drugs available,” said FullBucket’s Robo Hendrickson. “Much like all of our other products, we saw a need, first in veterinary practices and then in the training barns. And as always, we did our field testing with some of the best equine practitioners in the country before releasing it to a bigger group.”
The formula, developed by Rob Franklin, DVM, Dip. ACVIM and Keith Latson, DVM, Dip. ACVS, includes the use of a powerful, patented antioxidant Astaxanthin. The active ingredient is naturally derived from plants such as fruits, vegetables and mostly microalgae and as a form of carotenoid, it provides a multitude of healthy benefits. Astaxanthin is joined by L-Carnitine and natural Vitamin E to complete the formula with L-Carnitine serving as the building blocks in muscle development, endurance and health. Natural Vitamin E is an additional antioxidant that is better absorbed by the system at a rate of 3 to 1 as proven in several scientific studies.
“I really love Medical Muscle…,” said Lizze M., an endurance rider in California. “I have seen a difference in his muscle tone after one week. Thanks for having such awesome products!”
The active ingredient in Medical Muscle has been patented for:
• The extended duration of muscle function;
• Exertional rhabdomyolysis RER (tying up syndrome);
• Muscle disorders;
• Medical Catabolism
• PSSM (polysaccharide storage myopathy)
If your horse does experience an episode of “tying up,” follow these steps to relief:
Stop exercising and move to a stall.
- Call your veterinarian.
- Determine if your horse is hydrated through a “pinch” test. Pinch the skin and if is springs back into place, you’re horse is likely hydrated. If not, your horse could use some water, but do not provide water until your horse is cool. When providing water, ration slowly.
- Remove grain and feed.
- Hand walk once the episode is over and avoid riding for a day or so, or follow your veterinarian’s instructions.
Again, be sure and consult your veterinarian if you suspect your horse is suffering from ER.
For more information about FullBucket or Medical Muscle, go to fullbuckethealth.com or call 855-792-7872.
FullBucket provides a complete line of veterinary formulated horse and dog supplements. Developed by Rob Franklin, DVM, Dip. ACVIM and Keith Latson, DVM, Dip. ACVS, FullBucket is the leading probiotic in the world. FullBucket gives back with a one-for-one program. For every FullBucket you buy we give one to animals in need. To learn more about FullBucket, contact Robo@fullbuckethealth.com.