Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Poor performance: cardiac causes and treatment

Contributor(s): Lesley Young, Karen Blissit, Romain Pariaut

Evaluation

  • Cardiac murmurs and reduced athletic performance are very common in horses. However, cardiovascular disease is an uncommon cause of poor performance (<2% of cases) and in these cases it is usually a cardiac arrhythmia that is the underlying problem.
  • There is usually no association between the presence of a cardiac murmur and lack of athletic performance unless the abnormality is very severe, and the horse is no longer able to compensate for the abnormal flow.

Causes of poor performance

  • Musculoskeletal problems.
  • Conditions of the respiratory tract.
  • Lack of fitness.
  • Owner’s unrealistic expectations of ability (horse or rider).
  • Inappropriate training.
  • Cardiovascular abnormalities.
  • Others (medical, neurological, etc).
  • See also Poor performance: overview.

Cardiac causes of poor performance

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Specific arrhythmias causing poor performance

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Atrial fibrillation

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Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation

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Premature systoles

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Bradydysrhythmias

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers


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