What is Atypical Myopathy?
It is a life-threatening muscular disorder in equine animals caused by the ingestion of sycamore tree seeds or seedlings. These contain a toxin called Hypoglycin- A.
It is not known whether some trees are more toxic than others, whether toxicity levels vary depending on the time of year or certain climates making it very difficult to assess the risk factors to horses.
As a result of scientists developing an accelerated test for Hypoglycin-A and its principle metabolite MCPA-carnitine, the Comparative Neuromuscular Diseases Laboratory at the RVC is now offering testing for the toxin and its metabolite in serum from horses suspected of having the disease or at-risk.
Vets can submit samples to the RVC’s lab for urine organic acid and plasma acyl carnitine profile testing and owners can organise samples of sycamore seeds, seedlings and leaves to be tested if they have concerns about any trees situated on their property.