Happy 2016 Rodeo Fame! The first blog of the year is about “tying up”. The scientific name for it is, Exertional Ryhabdomyolysis. It’s also been known to be called Azoturia and Monday morning sickness. What does that mean? It all means the same thing basically, muscle break down or destruction of muscle cells. The muscles, typically in the rump, hindquarters and hamstrings contract and won’t relax. The muscles will feel rock hard.
When does it happen? Usually it happens during or after exercising. But it can also happen during a stressful event. Leaving a horse sit for a few days then working them hard can cause this. If the horse ties up frequently- he may have a chronic issue and will need to be managed differently by your vet.
How can I tell my horse is tying up? In most occurrences the horse will refuse to move, sweat and be very stiff. The muscles along his back will become very tight and hard. His heart rate will be elevated and muscle tremors can occur. Some horses may stretch out like they need to urinate. In very extreme cases, the urine will become cola or red colored.
What should I do? Do not move your horse. Call your vet. Provide fluids and electrolytes ( if your vet suggests). Your vet may prescribe anti inflammatory drugs and fluids. They may draw blood, and look for hormonal imbalances and mineral deficiencies.
Your vet can help you determine the cause of your horse tying up and will be able to help you manage it with a regular exercise program, a feeding program to fit your horses nutrition needs and possibly mineral supplements.
Thanks for stopping by! See you down the road!
Article by Hillary Tryan
Reviewed by Dr. Mandi Holland DVM