TieingUp Feb 17

This is a genetically linked syndrome that many performance horses battle, so it is important to know how to manage this condition from the nutritional standpoint.

Common signs of tying up include muscle stiffness, sweating, and reluctance to move. Signs most commonly appear when a horse begins a new training program or after a long lay-up period.

Horses that are tying up may seem lazy, have a tense abdomen, have tremors around the flank area, or an alternating lameness. They may also be reluctant to back, and some horses may stretch out like they are about to urinate. The muscles will be hard and stiff particularly over the hind quarters and the horse will appear stiff and painful.

Horses susceptible to tying up should be managed very closely when it comes to the non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) content of the diet. The total diet should be no higher than 12% NSC, and owners should avoid feeding oats and sweet feeds.

Pelleted feeds that are low in NSC, high in fat, and very dense in vitamins and minerals are a good option for balancing the diet of a horse that ties up. Elevated levels of vitamin E and selenium may also be beneficial.

Keep in mind, about 75% of the horse’s diet is forage. If the hay contains high sugar levels you are really at a disadvantage in trying to manage a horse with PSSM. Have your hay analyzed to determine the sugar content. Time of harvest, geographical region, and plant species are the biggest factors in the sugar content of hay.

Fresh pasture can also contain high levels of sugar. A dry lot or grazing muzzle may be used prevent full access to grass pastures. If a horse is prone to tying-up, hay can be soaked in water prior to feeding as a precaution. This will leach out some of the sugars.

Bluebonnet Feeds recommends Intensify Omega Force as a daily feed option for performance horses that are prone to tying up. It is a low starch/high fat pelleted feed with elevated levels of vitamin E and selenium.

A second option for horses that tie up is a supplement called Stride 101 which provides daily recommended levels of vitamins and minerals for performance horses.

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