Tying up means knotted muscles for horses

By Susan Aiello • Published: January 1st, 2012
Category: Animal Airwaves

Most do-it-yourselfers have experienced morning-after aches from biting off more weekend work than they can chew. Horses go through the same problem when ridden hard after lazing around all week.

This so-called Monday-morning disease is a form of tying up, medically known as exertional rhabdomyolysis [rab′-dough-my-ol′′-isis]. Muscles become tight and painful, causing normally eager equines to shake, sweat and stiffen.

Worse yet is a genetic form of the disorder known as polysaccharide storage myopathy (my-AH-puh-thy), a debilitating and sometime fatal condition seen mostly in draft and quarter horses.

Immediate rest and plenty of water are in order when you see signs of tying up. Your veterinarian may prescribe tranquilizers, anti-inflammatories or other meds and may also suggest dietary changes. But consistent, moderate exercise is the key to preventing your supple steed from becoming a stiff and sore one.