BEVA is reminding owners and vets this autumn of the potential risk of seasonal pasture myopathy (SPM), also referred to as atypical myopathy.

Sycamore.
Seeds from the sycamore tree contain hypoglycin A, which causes SPM.

SPM is a highly fatal muscle disease in horses caused by the toxin hypoglycin A, contained in tree seeds – including the sycamore.

Susceptible

While sycamore seeds may not be directly palatable to horses, those grazing on poor quality pasture may ingest considerable numbers of them.

Horses kept in sparse pastures with an accumulation of dead sycamore leaves, dead wood and trees in or around the pasture and without access to supplementary hay or feed, are the most susceptible.

Plan ahead

Mark Bowen, senior vice-president of BEVA, warned horse owners: “Please plan ahead and take steps now to prevent the risk of your horse contracting seasonal pasture myopathy.

It’s a devastating condition that can frequently be fatal despite treatment. If you are worried about the safety of your grazing, speak to your veterinary practice for advice.”

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