Exploring PSSM in Horses

Exploring PSSM in Horses

  • Tiffany Leonard

Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM) is a common muscle disorder that affects horses, particularly in certain breeds. It is important for horse owners and caretakers to have a good understanding of this condition in order to provide the best care for their equine companions.

What is PSSM?

PSSM is a glycogen storage disease that results in abnormal accumulation of glycogen in the muscles of horses. This can lead to muscle pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving, especially during exercise. There are two main types of PSSM: Type 1, which is caused by a genetic mutation, and Type 2, which is caused by an unknown factor.

How is PSSM Diagnosed?

Diagnosing PSSM in horses involves a combination of clinical signs, muscle biopsy, and genetic testing. Common symptoms of PSSM include muscle stiffness, sweating, reluctance to move, and tying-up episodes. A veterinarian may perform a muscle biopsy to confirm the presence of abnormal glycogen accumulation in the muscles.

Managing PSSM in Horses

There is no cure for PSSM, but it can be managed through proper diet, exercise, and medication. Horses with PSSM should be fed a low-starch, high-fat diet to help reduce glycogen accumulation in the muscles. Regular exercise, such as turnout or light riding, can also help improve muscle function and reduce stiffness.

In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage symptoms of PSSM. This may include muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories, or supplements to support muscle health. It is important to work closely with a veterinarian to develop a treatment plan tailored to the individual horse.

Basic Animal Health offers two products that may help improve the condition of PSSM horses: MuscleHealth  and Pure Gold Extreme. 

By promoting muscle relaxation, reducing muscle cramping, and aiding in energy production, MuscleHealth helps your horse maintain optimal muscle health and reduces the risk of performance-limiting issues. The ingredients of MuscleHealth has been shown to enhance muscle recovery, reduce muscle damage, and support lean muscle mass.

Pure Gold Extreme is a unique combination of Camelina and Flaxseed Oil with added Omega 3's and Vitamin E. This oil is very high in Omega 3's which have anti-inflammatory properties. This oil is very low calorie, and high fat, which is exactly what you need to feed to a PSSM horse. 

By understanding PSSM and taking proactive steps to manage and prevent it, horse owners can help ensure the health and well-being of their equine partners. Working closely with a veterinarian and following a tailored care plan can make a significant difference in the quality of life for horses affected by PSSM.

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