New, Quicker Atypical Myopathy Test Allows Earlier Treatment

Time is of the essence when diagnosing and treating atypical myopathy as it can prove fatal in less than two days.
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New, Quicker Atypical Myopathy Test Allows Earlier Treatment
The test detects the presence of hypoglycin A and its principal detoxification metabolite methylenecyclopropylacetic acid-carnitine in horses' serum. | Photo: Alexandra Beckstett/The Horse

A new test could help determine whether horses have ingested the toxin responsible for the fatal muscle disease atypical myopathy. The test provides accurate results in record time—a maximum of 48 hours, British researchers determined.

“Realistically, we provide results the same day that the samples arrive in the lab in most instances,” said Sonia Gonzalez-Medina, DVM, LdoVet, Cert. AVP(EM), CPOV, of The Royal Veterinary College’s (RVC) Comparative Neuromuscular Diseases Laboratory, in London, U.K. She presented her study on the blood test at the 2017 British Equine Veterinary Association Congress, held Sept. 13-16, in Liverpool.

Time is of essence in this disease, most commonly diagnosed in European horses, that can prove fatal in extremely short time frames, often in fewer than two days, the researchers said. “The beauty behind this work is not only the confirmation of severely affected horses but also the detection of exposure to the toxin at an early stage, so we have time to establish interventions soon enough to tackle the fatal intoxication,” Gonzalez-Medina said

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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