EQUINE MUSCLE DAMAGE
Equine Muscle Damage
Equine Muscle damage can come in many forms such as lacerations, cramps, (see Azoturia), lameness, arthritis, sprains, internal damage and "Tying-up" which is a painful muscle disorder that usually occurs during exercise and causes damage to large muscles such as those of the back, pelvis and hind legs. Some equine muscle damage is caused by underlying problems such as kidney or liver disease or even a neurological disorder.
Prevention of equine muscle damage has to be your mantra. Many instances of equine muscle damage can be prevented by ensuring your equine friend is not overworked and that correct warm-up exercises are done before work to prevent damage.
Symptoms of Equine Muscle Damage
Equine muscle damage can include any of the following symptoms:
Signs of pain or discomfort if the muscles in question are touched
Stiffness in the suspected area
Your equine friend shows signs of not wanting to move
A surface cut to the skin might need further investigation
Any swelling around muscles
Check for bruising around any areas where you suspect equine muscle damage
More than usual tossing of the head
Tack problems, e.g. saddle not staying in place, maybe slipping to one side or problems getting the girth on
Short, un-coordinated equine strides
Reluctance to backing up
Scuffing the hind legs
Refusing to be led
Difficulty getting up and down inclines
Change in personality, eating habits or sleeping habits
Causes of Equine Muscle Damage
Equine muscle damage can be caused by:
The horse being over-worked
Not enough warm up exercises
During equestrian events, a fall or collision with a fence or bars
Collision with another horse
Damage caused by too much protein in the diet compared to the amount of exercise taken i.e. too much protein, not enough exercise
Remedies for Equine Muscle Damage.
Always get a professional equine opinion on any muscle damage. Your vet may refer you to an equine diagnostic centre to diagnose the extent of the muscle damage. An examination will be made to evaluate muscle mass, symmetry and pain before recommending appropriate treatment to cure the damage.
Establish a regular equine routine of exercise that does not push a horse past his capabilities
Get advice from your equine food supplier – the feed should be appropriate to the horse’s work and energy needs to avoid damage.
Rest is essential as the time taken for the muscle to return to former fitness could be lengthy.
Ointments of various sorts or capsaicin rubs can help ease soreness and spasms.
Equine sports massage therapy and pulsed electromagnetic therapy is very beneficial
Remember, prevention is the key to avoidance of equine muscle damage.