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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Toxic Myopathies in Horses

By Stephanie J. Valberg, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, ACVSMR, Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, University of Minnesota Equine Center

Ionophores

Ionophores are commonly added to ruminant feeds for their growth promotion and coccidiostat properties. Horses, however, are 10 times more sensitive to the toxic effects of ionophores in feed than cattle. When equine feeds are inadvertently contaminated with ionophores or horses eat cattle feed, some animals may die acutely with colic-like signs, myoglobinuria, hypokalemia, cardiac arrhythmia, and tachypnea. Cardiomyopathy is the most common chronic sequela.