Welcome to Hambleton Equine Clinic Ltd

Hambleton Equine Clinic is based near Stokesley and is the only purpose-built equine clinic in North Yorkshire providing a full range of equine services to the professional and recreational horse owner.  Established in 2012 by the Partners Alison, Caroline and Phil, it is a progressive and specialist equine practice that is constantly striving to achieve the highest standard of care for your horse.

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Sycamore poisoning - Atypical Myopathy                                                                                

Atypical myopathy is a potentially fatal muscle disease caused by ingestion of a toxin (Hypoglycin A) that is found in sycamore seeds, seedlings and leaves in the UK.  The toxin stops muscle cells from working properly resulting in a wide range of signs including: weakness, muscle tremors,reluctance to move, colic, choke, dark urine, reluctance to lift head, elevated breathing rate, recumbency and sometimes sudden death. IF YOU THINK YOUR HORSE MAY BE SHOWING SYMPTOMS PLEASE CONTACT THE CLINIC ON 01642 723132.

The disease can develop very quickly and early supportive therapy from a vet is essential. Treatment is largely supportive with intravenous fluids and pain relief ideally given in a hospital environment if possible. Supplementary vitamins and minerals have also been found to be beneficial.  The toxin prevents the horse’s body from utilising nutrients that would normally allow muscles to function properly, especially the muscles that are used for breathing, standing and movement, but also the heart muscle. Affected horses often have dark, reddish urine because of the breakdown of muscle tissue, which is excreted through the kidneys. Eventually breathing difficulties and heart problems result in death or euthanasia.  Even despite early treatment some cases do not recover.

Diagnosis is based on clinical examination, detection of reddish/brown urine, environmental evidence of sycamore trees local to grazing and laboratory analysis of blood for muscle enzymes and the toxin, (available through the Royal Veterinary College’s specialised neuromuscular laboratory.)

The levels of the toxin, (Hypoglycin A), can vary from seed to seed and tree to tree so advice for prevention includes;

  • Checking fields carefully for Sycamore leaves and seeds and fencing off areas where they have fallen
  • Hoover-up/pick up sycamore seeds off the pasture
  • Turning horses out horses for shorter periods
  • Provide extra forage (hay or haylage) especially where pasture is poor
  • Reducing stocking density so there is plenty of good grazing for every horse 

When a case is seen or suspected,field mates should be removed from the pasture and blood tested to see whether they too have muscle damage and could be developing the disease. Provision of antioxidants, B vitamins and amino acid supplements may be worthwhile in these cases. Unfortunately outbreaks of disease are common. For more information on atypical myopathy please contact the clinic.

Hambleton Equine Clinic
The Paddock, Stanley Grange,
Great Ayton, North Yorkshire

Tel: 01642 723132
E-Mail: info@hambleton-equine.co.uk
©2018 Hambleton Equine Clinic
A leading Hospital offering the highest standards of clinical skills and nursing care.