Several Atypical Myopathy cases reported in the UK

By: Horse Deals

Several Atypical Myopathy cases reported in the UK
Several Atypical Myopathy cases reported in the UK

World Horse Welfare has been made aware of several cases of Equine Atypical Myopathy (EAM) in the UK, and is urging horse owners to monitor their own horses. Liphook Equine Hospital in Hampshire have issued an alert that they have diagnosed five cases in the past few days. Two of the five diagnosed horses have died. Liphook are also aware of a further four cases attended by veterinarians which have died in the Hampshire/Sussex/Surrey area.

EAM is a disease of unknown cause which results in significant muscle damage. The condition, which seems to be becoming more common, affects horses at pasture, often in the spring and/or autumn, and has a high death rate. Similarities of the disease have been made with Equine Grass Sickness as it is a pasture related disease that appears to be associated with an adverse change in weather conditions (e.g. sudden frost, heavy rain).

Signs to look out for include: - Weakness and stiffness in horses at pasture – not related to excessive/unusual exercise

- Dark coloured urine

- Collapse

- Muscle tremors

Notably, for a day or two prior to referral to Liphook, the five horses also displayed clinical signs less well-recognised in atypical myopathy cases. These signs included:

- Vigorous head shaking and nodding

- Frenzied vocalisation

- Recurrent choke-like retching neck spasms without a persistent oesophageal obstruction

- Stiffness and lethargy when ridden

Intensive treatment of any case is required as soon as possible to maximise its chances of survival.

If you suspect your horse has atypical myopathy contact your vet immediately and remove the horse from the pasture.

Any other animals that are grazing with the horse you are concerned about should also be removed from the affected pastures immediately, as it is possible that there is a toxin in the grass released only during changing weather conditions that causes the disease. Further information on the disease can be obtained from

World Horse Welfare will update information as more details become available. Please visit for any updates.


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