Poisonous seeds

Published : 2020-09-23 - Categories : Blog

Poisonous seeds ... do you know the danger of the common maple? Also known as sycamore 

By recognizing the common maple you can save horses from a disease that is not yet treatable : atypical myopathy. A very dangerous disease that is usually fatal in the affected horses. The survival rate of this condition averages only 10 to 20%.

The common maple has recently emerged as the cause of the disease. This disease is seen almost only in the fall and to a lesser extent in the spring.

Common maple seeds and seedlings contain a substance that causes an enzyme called acyl-coA to be inhibited. This enzyme ensures that fats in the cells of the body are converted into energy, with the result that fats accumulate in the cell and the cell does not get energy to function. Horses therefore get sick from eating the seeds and seedlings. This atom is also present in the leaves of the tree, but only in very small quantities.

The symptoms that the horse with atypical myopathy show are:

• Muscle weakness or muscle stiffness

• Muscle tremors

• Sweating

• Hypothermia

• The horse often lies down / cannot get up

• The horse moves with difficulty, stiff or does not move at all

• Rapid and / or difficult breathing and increased heart rate

• Due to muscle breakdown, the urine is often coffee-colored

"It is very important that the disease is prevented by making sure that no seeds of the maple can be eaten by horses, because no antidote has yet been found."

The leaves of the sycamore maple are five-lobed, with the edges of the lobes serrated. The seeds of this tree have a kind of wings, which makes them easily recognizable.  The common maple can grow up to 30 meters high.

The treatment of horses affected by this disease is very intensive. By providing infusion fluids, painkillers, vitamins and antioxidants, an attempt is made to minimize the amount of muscle damage and to lower the concentrations of toxic substances. Despite the intensive treatment, few horses survive this disease. As mentioned earlier, no cure for this disease has yet been found.

So make sure your horse cannot eat these seeds!

However, you can bring horses to good health after they have survived the poisoning with herbal mixes. We already have good experience with this.

Written by Jente Driessen from HorseComplete and translated by Sharon Bronsveld from The Horse Therapist

Source credit:

(Westermann CM, de Sain-van der Velden MG, van der Kolk JH, et al. Equine biochemical multiple acyl-Coa dehydrogenase deficiency (MADD) as a cause of rhabdomyolysis. Mol Genet Metab 2007; 91: 362–369. ).

(Valberg SJ, Sponseller BT, Hegeman AD, et al. Seasonal pasture myopathy / atypical myopathy in North America associated with ingestion of Hypoglycin A within seeds of the box elder tree. Equine Vet J 2013; 45: 419–426).

(CM Westerman et al. Hypoglycin A Concentrations in Maple Tree Species in the Netherlands and the Occurrence of Atypical Myopathy in Horses J Vet Intern Med 2016; 30: 880–884)

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