Since the early descriptions of ‘Monday morning disease’ (exertional rhabdomyolysis), skeletal muscle disease has long been recognised as a significant problem in the horse. Epidemiological studies have suggested that muscle problems affect up to 6.7 per cent of racing thoroughbreds (McGowan and others 2002) and in some other breeds up to 66 per cent of the population are affected (Valentine and others 2001). Skeletal muscle comprises up to 55 per cent of the body mass of athletic horses (Kearns and others 2002) and has a key role in the metabolism of an individual. It is therefore not surprising that disease processes affecting this organ can have a major impact on the welfare and performance of a horse. This article discusses some common muscle disorders of the horse and ways to manage and treat them.
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