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Article posted on 15-12-2014

Due to the great number cases communicated this year to the Atypical Myopathy Alert Group (AMAG) in UK (n = 92) and Ireland (n = 28), the University of Liege together with The Irish Equine Center and The Animal Health Trust is conducting a new research study investigating the geographical distribution and clinical particularities of this condition in UK and Ireland.

The Animal Health Trust, the UK’s leading veterinary charity, is launching the first UK epidemiological study into Atypical Myopathy and is calling for horse owners whose animals have been affected by the disorder to help.
This collaborative research between the University of Liege, the Irish Equine Centre and the Animal Health Trust aims to investigate the geographical distribution and clinical particularities of Atypical Myopathy in the UK and Ireland. In 2014, the UK reported the highest number of Atypical Myopathy cases in Europe with alarming mortality rates, and therefore a UK-based investigation is essential to understand the particularities of the disease in this country.

Atypical Myopathy is a debilitating and fatal disease caused by the ingestion of sycamore seeds, commonly known as “helicopters” as their shape enables them to travel several yards away from where the trees are located. Clinical signs include muscle weakness and stiffness, dark urine, colicky signs, anorexia and recumbence that may lead to death if not treated promptly.

Horse owners whose horses have suffered from Atypical Myopathy are urged to fill in a short questionnaire providing details of the affected horse’s management, pasture details and clinical signs. By collecting as much information on the disease as possible the AHT hopes to accelerate the research into the condition, furthering the understanding of the Atypical Myopathy and improving the poor prognosis the disease currently has in the UK.

The deadline for reporting cases is 15 February 2015. To complete the horse owner questionnaire and read further information on the disease, click here.

If you're a vet who has seen clinical cases of Atypical Myopathy in 2014, you can also help the AHT's research into the disease by providing information about these cases. Please fill out the vet questionnaire here