White muscle disease

Attention! This is a potentially life-threatening condition for your horse. Time is of the essence, contact your veterinarian immediately.Find a Vet

White Muscle Disease

Nutrition Myopathy, Nutritional Myodegeneration, Nutritional Muscular Dystrophy

White muscle disease is a myodegenerative disease that can affect the cardiac and skeletal muscles of primarily foals and on occasion adult horses. It is caused by lack of selenium and vitamin E in the diet, often associated with living in a selenium deficient area, high unsaturated fat intake or unaccustomed exercise.

Symptoms

Failure to suckle
Shortness of breath
Muscle swelling w/ pain
Stiffness
Weakness
Difficulty rising
Depression
Head and neck swelling
Discolored urine

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Increased serum muscle enzyme activities
  • Myoglobinuria
  • Serum selenium
  • Blood test

Support

Therapies

TherapiesDetails
Supportive treatment
Vitamin E/Selenium intramuscular injections

Prevention

Prognosis

The cardiac form of the disease is usually fatal.

Scientific Research

General Overviews

Age Range

most common in foals from birth to 7 months of age

Risk Factors

  • Living in a selenium deficient region

Switch Animals