Vets are urging horse owners to restrict access to sycamore trees after witnessing a rise in equine atypical myopathy (AM), a deadly disease linked to the ingestion of seeds from the tree.

Rossdales Equine Hospital in Newmarket claims to have seen several cases of the muscle disease, while Rossdales’ internal medicine specialist Celia Marr said recent weather conditions are likely to have been “an additional trigger factor.”

She said: “We would recommend removing access to sycamore and providing supplementary feed during bad weather – both are appropriate measures.”

Past research into the disease suggests AM is caused by the ingestion of sycamore tree seeds, which contain the toxin hypoglycin-A.

The disease is argued to be increasingly prominent during the Autumn or after periods of wet and windy weather.

Symptoms of the disease include:

  • muscle tremors
  • dark coloured urine
  • breathing problems
  • sudden weakness
  • low body temperature 

Urgent treatment and careful management is essential to combat the equine disease.

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