Article Text

Masseter myodegeneration as a cause of trismus or dysphagia in adult horses
  1. E. G. Pearson, DVM, MS, DipACVIM1,
  2. S. P. Snyder, DVM, PhD, DipACVP2 and
  3. M. N. Saulez, BVSc, MS, MRCVS3
  1. 1Department of Clinical Sciences
  2. 2Department of Biomedical Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
  3. 3Hagyard-Davidson- McGee Associates, Medicine Facility, 4250 Iron Works Pike, Lexington, KY 40511-8412, USA


The medical records of eight horses with histological evidence of myodegeneration of the masseter muscles were examined. While they were alive their most common clinical signs had included difficulty in eating or opening their mouths, weight loss, difficulty in moving, and noticeable atrophy of the masseter muscles. The serum activities of muscle enzymes were abnormally high in all of the horses. Whole blood and/or liver selenium and vitamin E concentrations were less than the reference ranges in some of the horses. The lesions varied with the stage of the disease and consisted of swelling and discoloration, or muscle atrophy and fibrosis. Histologically, the muscle changes ranged from acute to subacute degeneration, with regenerative changes accompanying ongoing degeneration, to chronic degeneration with fibrotic replacement of muscle tissue. There were changes in the masseter muscle of all the horses, but some had widespread lesions in skeletal muscle, and a few also had myocardial lesions.

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