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The good news is that HYPP can usually be managed through diet and medication.
Tips include: Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia Like HYPP, “HERDA” is found primarily in stock breeds and is classified as a genetic skin disease.
HYPP is characterized by involuntary and uncontrolled muscle spasms, extreme muscle weakness, and collapse. These symptoms are caused by a genetic mutation that causes a particular sodium ion channel to be dysfunctional.
In layman’s terms, these channels control the electrical impulses that manage muscle contractions.
However, the years of research and lab hours paid off as scientists and veterinarians have been able not only to understand more about the diseases but actually develop tests to determine if a particular horse is a carrier of one of these diseases.
It was only a few years ago that these diseases were relatively unknown, and breeders were inadvertently playing Russian roulette with their breeding stock.
Sadly, there is no cure or treatment for HERDA, and the majority of horses afflicted with the disease are euthanized.
Malignant Hyperthermia Another genetic defect found in Quarter Horses and related breeds, Malignant Hyperthermia (MH), can cause increased temperature and heart rate, acidosis (excessive blood acidity), high blood pressure, excessive sweating, and tying up.
Rarely, a foal makes it to 4 months of age; most die or are euthanized before the 8-week mark.
While 8-10% of Quarter Horses can be affected by this devastating condition, there is a chance for any breed descended from Quarter Horses to be a potential carrier.
Tying-up is one of the most common symptoms of PSSM, followed closely by sweating, muscle stiffness, and refusing to move, particularly after exercise.
Contrary to common belief, typing-up is not actually caused by too much lactic acid, but that is definitely not the case in horses with PSSM.
Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis Most quarter horse and stock horse enthusiasts are familiar with what is commonly called HYPP, but many don’t know much about it beyond its origins back to halter stallion, Impressive, and this disease’s seizure-causing reputation.