HOW TO PRO­TECT YOUR HORSE

Your Horse (UK) - - Vet Notes -

Any sy­camore trees in or around your horse’s fields or in the near vicin­ity should be iden­ti­fied. Seeds can travel a sig­nif­i­cant dis­tance, es­pe­cially in cer­tain weather con­di­tions, so it’s im­por­tant to be vigilant. Ide­ally, don’t use any pas­tures with sy­camore trees around the out­side or close to them. Ar­eas where sy­camore seeds and leaves are likely to fall should be fenced off and any that have fallen should be cleared from the graz­ing and dis­posed of. If graz­ing is poor, or a num­ber of horses graze a small area, you should con­sider sup­ple­men­tary forage (for ex­am­ple, pro­vid­ing hay or hay­lage in the field) to try to re­duce the risk of them in­gest­ing the seeds/seedlings. If a case of atyp­i­cal myopathy oc­curs, then all horses should be re­moved from the af­fected pas­ture (es­pe­cially the youngest). Ei­ther sta­ble them or move them to clean pas­ture. All horses from af­fected pas­ture should have blood tests to mea­sure the lev­els of mus­cle en­zymes. These should be rechecked reg­u­larly to iden­tify any other cases, so that if treat­ment is re­quired, it can be ini­ti­ated as soon as pos­si­ble. Cer­tain lab­o­ra­to­ries can sam­ple sy­camore seeds/leaves/seedlings for the pres­ence of the toxin hy­po­glycin A. Con­sider test­ing any sy­camore trees around your graz­ing to as­sess the level of dan­ger to your horses. Bear in mind the toxin is not al­ways present in ev­ery seed from the same tree, or in seeds from ev­ery sy­camore.

Out­breaks tend to be sea­sonal, with most cases oc­cur­ring in the au­tumnSy­camore seeds can be tested for the pres­ence of the toxin hy­po­glycin A PHOTO: HEATHER REA

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