Tying up (exertional rhabdomyolysis) is a term describing horses, particularly racers and those involved in other sporting events, who suffer a number of muscle disorders.
These disorders can vary in severity from muscle soreness and cramping to horses who have elevated respiratory and heart rates, dark urine and difficulty moving or even standing.
Veterinary researchers at the Japan Racing Association’s Hidaka Training and Research Center have studied the use of certain supplements to help avoid and/or treat muscle disorders. The supplements included in the study are astaxanthin, an antioxidant and L-carnitine, an effective aid in immune function and energy.
Of the 63 horses that took part in the study, 31 were given the supplement. The others did not receive any supplements. The horses had their blood tested at regular intervals which showed that supplementation can prevent tying up incidents.
The supplement is commercially available in Japan and may soon be available in the United States.