As autumn rolls in we are bombarded with Halloween related commercialism - what was omce more of an American tradition has been well and truly embraced now by British culture.
Halloween in iself probably won't have much of an effect upon your horse - but autumn does have hidden horrors for your equine companions.
Autumn Horse Horrors - Atypical Myopathy
What Is It? Atypical myopathy occurs as a result of ingesting sycamore seeds and saplings, as these contain the toxin hypoglycin A.
What Are The Symptoms? These will include your horse or pony to be seemingly depressed, with a reluctance to move, an overall weakness, and an inability to lift their head often combined with lying down. A significant clinical feature, in combination with muscle weakness, is very dark brown urine.
What Should I Do? If you suspect that your horse has succumbed to Atypical myopathy you need to act FAST! They will usualy require specialisy treatment, and will need large volumes of intravenous fluids in order to help maintain and support kidney function and assist in the removal of toxins from the blood stream.
What If There Are No Sycamore Trees Nearby? Just because there aren’t any sycamore trees in your field, it doesn’t mean that you can exclude this as a potential problems. Sycamore seeds can be carried in windy dry conditions over a fair distance. When you take into account that on average a single tree produces 10 000 seeds which can travel an average of 30-80 metres, if in doubt, get your horse checked out.
How Can I Prevent It? Horses are more at risk during autumn and are more likely to eat harmful plants if there is a lack of food so ensure that you provide your horse with hay out in the field and ensure there is always more piles of hay then there are the number of horses. Areas with sycamore trees should be fenced off if they can’t be avoided. Paddocks should be thoroughly checked for seeds and saplings should be destroyed, the seeds collected and burnt.