FUW warns horse owners to watch out for Sycamore killer

| October 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

horses-grazingThe Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) is warning horse owners to be vigilant for their animals showing signs of muscular weakness or stiffness, colic-like symptoms, sweating or trembling which could be an indication of Atypical Myopothy – a seasonal condition associated with the seeds of the Sycamore tree (acer pseudoplatanus).

“There has been a surge in reported cases around the UK and whilst there is no cure and a mortality rate of over 75 per cent, early diagnosis of the condition means that symptomatic treatments of intravenous fluid therapy, painkillers and anti- inflammatories can help in recovery,” said the union’s deputy director of agricultural policy Rhian Nowell-Phillips.

The number of cases has increased significantly over the past year – due to high winds and floods dispersing the seeds far and wide and a good summer – has seen an abundance of the distinctive “helicopter” shaped seeds which can be dispersed over a wide area.

“Vets are advising that if Sycamore seeds are found on horse pasture try and fence off any trees during spring and autumn and supplementary feeding should be made available,” Ms Nowell-Phillips added.

The disease has been recognised for a number of years but the cause was only identified last year following a study published in the Equine Veterinary Journal. It found that Equine Atypical Myopothy is triggered by eating sycamore seeds and seedlings, which contain a toxin called Hypoglycin-A.

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Category: A Frontpage, Agriculture, EU, EU

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