Tying up is a condition that can affect horses in many different situations, from the casual riders who do a few trails over the weekend, all the way up to competitively working horses in all disciplines.? Horses suffering from this form of muscle breakdown show stiffness and poor performance in its mildest form, and in more severe cases will have elevated heart rate, sweating, pain, and will pass dark-coloured urine.
Known by many other names, including azoturia, Monday morning disease, or myoglobinurea, tying up is usually brought on through exercise, but can also develop from stressful situations such as trailer loading, or even viral infections.? Similar in many ways to humans who play too hard on the weekends, the milder forms can simply be due to high lactic acid levels in muscles.? However, some horses may be at risk due to electrolyte imbalances or dehydration.
If you suspect that your horse has had episodes of tying up, your vet can perform bloodwork that will analyze their enzyme levels.? This will help determine whether the horse actually was tying up and, if so, how severe the episode was.? Mild cases may simply be treated with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory to make the horse more comfortable, while severe cases may require intravenous fluids to prevent kidney damage and to keep them hydrated.? Sedatives may also be prescribed to keep the horse relaxed and calm.
For horses that are prone to this condition, stable management can also be key to preventing future attacks.? Keeping the horse calm and in a consistent environment with regular routines, as well as strictly monitoring diet, water intake and exercise, will go a long way towards making a horse that ties up much more comfortable.