Belgian Equine Practitioners Society - Atypical myopathy

To gain access to the closed section of the BEPS website a Veterinarian has to register. You can do this below in the Profilemenu.

Today we know that the toxin responsible for atypical myopathy is a toxin present in the seeds of some Acer such as Acer pseudoplatanus (= mapletree; see ( ).
For outbreaks occurring in spring, the assumption is that the germinating seeds of the maple tree contain the toxin. With the current climatic conditions, maple seeds have begun to germinate. So it is imperative to avoid that horses ingest them. It is important to browse your grass to make sure it does not contain these seedlings but if that is the case, you may try to mow or burn them. From the retrospective studies of large clinical series we have learned that when a large number of cases of atypical myopathy was recorded in the fall, many new cases are encountered in the following spring. Unfortunately, this spring 2014 should record a large number of deaths due to atypical myopathy and I regret to announce that first cases of atypical myopathy spring are there.

Please share this message with all your contacts via your Facebook page or Twitter account
“Help you to protect your horses from atypical myopathy, create an efficient alert system, avoid pasture toxicity and find a cure for this lethal disease: these are our missions.
To do so we need your help: currently research on atypical myopathy is not subsidized!” The success of our project depends entirely on your generosity.

Today marks the start of the SAMARATHON GOALS :
Ø Subsidize a full-time researcher for a 3 year period
Ø Fund the collection and analysis of the samples needed for research
Ø Carry out laboratory studies to test the effectiveness of potential treatments


Invite all your friends from the equestrian world to support this research by donating using the official website managed by the researchers of the University of Liège

Beneficiary (account holder)
Name: Patrimoine de l’Université de Liège
Address: Place du XX Août, 7
Town / City: Liège
Zip Code: 4000
Country: Belgium
VAT Number: BE 0325777171
Bank account
Address: Boulevard Pacheco, No. 44
Town / City: Brussels:
Zip: 1000
Country: Belgium
Bank account: 091 – 0015718 – 33
Swift Code/BIC: GKCCBEBB IBAN (Required): BE79 0910 0157 1833 Communication*: D.VTSFPH201-01 – Recipient of the gift: Research on Atypical Myopathy – Scientific manager: Votion Dominique (U015567)
(*) This field must be completed for the donation to be accepted, cleared and attributed to the atypical myopathy project.

If you want your name to appear on our “donators” page, please send me an email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Warning Atypical Myopathy

AUTUMN 2013 – At the date of the 8nd of November 2013, 220 clinical cases compatible with the diagnosis of atypical myopathy have been communicated to Liege University and to the RESPE. These cases were recorded in Belgium (102 cases), France (50 cases), Great-Britain (14 cases), The Netherlands (22 cases), Switzerland (11 cases), Czech Republic (7 cases), Ireland (2 cases) and Germany (12 cases). The seasonal climate conditions are those favourable to the emergence of cases of atypical myopathy. Today we know that the toxin responsible for the condition is present in the seeds of some Acer such as Acer pseudoplatanus (= maple tree; see ( Hence it is important to prevent horses from ingesting those seeds. With temperature changes the seeds will begin to fall and the risk of poisoning get important. If feasible, access to pastures where Acer can be found, must be limited. In the link below you will find information (in French) on atypical myopathy.

Yours sincerely, AMAG-Team

Atypical myopathy in Europe: 23 October 2012

Recently, Valberg and Colleagues (see: showed that Seasonal Pasture Myopathy (SPM) in the US, which closely resembles atypical myopathy (AM) in Europe, was caused by a toxin (i.e. the toxic amino acid hypoglycin A) present in the seeds of box elder trees (Acer negundo).  Once ingested, hypoglycin A is metabolized into a toxic compound (i.e. MCPA) that disrupt energetic metabolism leading to the biochemical derangements seen in both, SPM and AM.

Hypoglycin A may be contained in seeds of several trees of the genus Acer and thus could very well also be the cause of AM in Europe.  In the past, botanical surveys of Belgium cases consistently reported the presence of Acer pseudoplatanus (maple tree; Aceraceae) in pastures (Votion et al., 2007), and moreover the contribution of trees (generally speaking) in the pathogenesis of the condition has been suggested in a recent descriptive study where trees were present at 98% of the pastures of 354 European cases (van Galen et al., 2012a). 

Concerning the cause of AM in Europe, sera from European cases are being analyzed in collaboration with the University of Minnesota to search for MCPA conjugates in blood.  We should know soon if AM is due to the same toxin than SPM in the US.  Meanwhile, clues for diagnosis, prognosis, and preventive measures may be found in the latest studies performed on European cases (van Galen et al., 2012a,b)

We would like to insist on the importance of continuing reporting of European cases to the AMAG (Atypical Myopathy Alert Group; This European epidemiosurveillance system allows scientific groups that are working together on this disease to know where and when cases occur so that the data and samples that are needed for research can be collected.

So far (at the date of the 22nd October), we are not facing any outbreak (some anecdotal cases have been reported), but as you know this can change in the coming days or weeks.


The research continues since several questions remain unanswered such as:

- Why the condition is emerging while it would be due to a native plant?
- What are the factors that affect the toxicity?
- Are the Acer species the only trees causing the disease?
- How to prevent and treat the disease?
- … and many others.


Thank you for your help with the ongoing research.


Valberg et al., 2012. Seasonal Pasture Myopathy/atypical myopathy in North America associated with ingestion of Hypoglycin A within seeds of the box elder tree. Equine Veterinary Journal;

van Galen et al., 2012a. European outbreaks of atypical myopathy in grazing equids (2006-2009) Part I: Spatiotemporal distribution, history and clinical features. Equine Veterinary Journal; DOI: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2012.00556.x.

van Galen et al., 2012b. European outbreaks of atypical myopathy in grazing equids (2006-2009) Part II: Determination of indicators for risk and prognostic factors.

Votion et al., 2007. History and clinical features of atypical myopathy in horses in Belgium (2000-2005). Journal of veterinary internal Medicine.

All publications about atypical myopathy already archived on the bibliography website of the University of Liège ( are available via 



Dominique Votion, PhD, DMV

"Atypical Myopathy Alert Group; AMAG"

New Phone number for atypical myopathy: 0497/ 707 887

Please register to receive alert message from AMAG on:

Help the research :

Equine Clinic, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liege
Bd de Colonster, 20  Bât B41
4000  Liège (Sart Tilman)
Tél: 00 32(0)4/366.41.03 (Liège)
Fax : 00 32(0)4/366.41.08 (Liège)

images idk vlag duitstalige gemeenschap tcm117-27352 Région de la WallonieRégion de Bruxelles vlaamse leeuwvlag brussels gewest