THE MERCK VETERINARY MANUAL
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Toxic Myopathies in Horses

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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.

Last full review/revision February 2014 by Stephanie J. Valberg, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, ACVSMR

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