TitlePathologic findings in equine muscle (excluding polysaccharide storage): a necropsy study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsValentine, BA
JournalJournal of veterinary diagnostic investigation : official publication of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, Inc
Date Published2008 Sep
KeywordsWounds and Injuries

Gross and histopathologic evaluation of skeletal muscle was performed in 229 equids (217 horses, 8 ponies, 3 donkeys, and 1 mule) 1 year of age or older undergoing postmortem examination at Oregon State University in a 2.5-year period. Animals were evaluated for grossly evident muscle lesions, and muscle samples were fixed in formalin, processed routinely, and stained with hematoxylin and eosin (HE) and periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) for glycogen. Muscle lesions were detected in 149 animals (65%). Chronic myopathic change (excessive fiber size variation and internal nuclei) was evaluated in horses without polysaccharide storage myopathy and was the most common finding (36 animals; 15.7%). Chronic myopathic change was more common in older animals. Generalized muscle atrophy was present in 30 animals (13.1%). Myonecrosis was attributed to endotoxic injury (11 animals; 4.8%), bone fracture (8 animals; 3.5%), bacterial infection (5 animals; 2.2%), muscle rupture (3 animals; 1.3%), selenium deficiency (2 animals; 0.9%), and exertional rhabdomyolysis (1 horse; 0.4%); cause was not determined in 9 animals (3.9%). Intramyofiber protozoa were detected in 19 horses and ponies (8.3%). Denervation atrophy was detected in 14 animals (6.1%). Neoplasia involving muscle occurred in 3 animals (1.3%), injection site reactions were detected in 4 animals (1.7%), and focal lymphocytic infiltrates were found in 6 animals (2.6%). Other findings were ring fibers (2 horses; 0.9%), fiber splitting (2 horses; 0.9%), and fat infiltration (1 horse; 0.4%). Skeletal muscle lesions are common in equids examined at postmortem. Transverse sections stained with HE and PAS are invaluable when evaluating equine muscle.