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Fit to be Tied: Could Your Horse Be Tying-Up?

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Ever have issues with your horse “tying-up”?  You are not alone..tying-up is one of the most common muscle problems in horses. Unfortunately, it is not linked to a single disease, but rather a collection of clinical signs with countless causes. Common signs of tying-up include muscle stiffness and pain, sweating, and reluctance to move. e56a46c138071e71f9ef0402b3a01d19 resized 600

One cause of chronic tying-up symptoms in Draft Horses, Warmbloods, and Quarter Horse related breeds is a metabolic defect called polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM). Horses with PSSM store an abnormal amount of glycogen (sugar) in their muscles, which disrupts the balance of energy metabolism causing their muscles to become sore and stiff. Thousands of horses have been identified with tying-up associated with polysaccharide accumulation in the muscles. Click here to learn more about the causes and symptoms for horses tying-up.

How do you know if your horse is having an episode of tying-up?

During an episode, horses seem lazy, tense up in their abdomen, have a shifting lameness, and develop tremors in their flank area. When horses stop moving they may stretch as if they are about to urinate. Some horses may begin rolling or pawing immediately after exercise.

Is PSSM testing available?

Currently, PSSM type 1 can be diagnosed with a genetic test, however, PSSM type 2 must be diagnosed with a muscle biopsy.


Whether your horse is tying-up due to PPSM or other reasons, dietary changes have proven to be effective in the control of chronic tying-up.

Feeds that are high in starch such as corn, oats, barley, sweet feed, and molasses tend to worsen symptoms of PSSM. Calories provided in the form of fat in order to provide energy without increasing blood insulin and glucose. Cool Calories 100 is an excellent high-fat supplement for horses that will provide essential fatty acids and the calories needed for weight gain and exercise. Cool Calories 100 is formulated with 99% dry vegetable fat, it contains no sugar or carbohydrates and provides two times the amount of fat as many other weight gain supplements. Cool Calories 100 is fed and recommended by many world renowned trainers and Olympic riders from all over the world because of its ability to deliver easily directed energy without creating a high-strung horse.  describe the image

Although horse fat supplements are very helpful, without changes in daily exercise, PSSM horses may continue to have problems. In order to prevent tying-up, these horses should be turned out as much as possible and exercised regularly. If they have not been exercised for a couple days, return them to work gradually.

For more diagnosis and treatment information, consult with your veterinarian.


Gabby Gufler

Gabby Gufler

Gabby Gufler graduated from Truman State University in 2013 with a BS in Animal Science & Nutrition and a minor in Equine Science. Gabby currently works on Manna Pro’s marketing team, and enjoys competing regularly with her six horses.

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