Exertional rhabdomyolysis (ER) is a concern for those who handle horses, especially in the case of performance horses. Rhabdomyolysis is a disease affects the muscles, leading to muscle deterioration often after a period of prolonged exertion or exercise. ER will exhibit a variety of symptoms depending on the severity and the breed. Some horses will present with stiffness in gait, muscle soreness and general poor performance 1. Upon examination muscles will appear swollen and/ or hard. Diagnosis of ER is done through biochemical analysis of creatine kinase and aspartate transaminase levels within blood. These enzymes are shown to be increased during a time of muscle damage. The amount of muscle damage that occurs will vary greatly, and it depends on many factors including underlying medical conditions, age, fitness level, gender and diet 2.
Through a variety of investigative studies involving muscles biopsies, researchers have posed a variety of different pathways through which treatment or prevention could be applied. Certain skeletal muscle gene mutations, found more often in Quarter horses, have explained a potential link between macronutrient balance of diet and risk of developing ER 3.Polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) and Recurrent Exertional Rhabdomyolysis (RER) are both genetic based disease that increase the risk of ER development4. PSSM is characterised by an unusual storage complex of glycogen in the muscles 5. RER is characterised by irregular myocellular calcium cycling and increased muscle contraction and necrosis 4. Current research is investigating the link between these conditions and ER in a variety of breeds. In these cases especially, it has been suggested that nutritional man...
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...tigation of selected biochemical indicators of Equine Rhabdomyolysis in Arabian horses: pro-inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress markers. Vet Res Commun. 2010;34(8):677–89. doi:10.1007/s11259-010-9439-5.
14. López JR, Linares N, Cordovez G, Terzic a. Elevated myoplasmic calcium in exercise-induced equine rhabdomyolysis. Pflugers Arch. 1995;430(2):293–5. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7675639.
15. Haggett E, Magdesian KG, Maas J, Puschner B, Higgins J, Fiack C. Whole blood selenium concentrations in endurance horses. Vet J. 2010;186(2):192–6. doi:10.1016/j.tvjl.2009.07.017.
16. Avellini L, Chiaradia E, Gaiti a. Effect of exercise training, selenium and vitamin E on some free radical scavengers in horses (Equus caballus). Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 1999;123(2):147–54. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10425718.
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