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Am J Vet Res. 2002 Feb;63(2):198-203.

Quantitative analysis of motor unit action potentials in the subclavian muscle of healthy horses.

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Department of Equine Sciences, Discipline Internal Medicine, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.



To evaluate the application of analysis of motor unit action potentials (MUAP) in horses and to obtain values of MUAP for the subclavian muscle of horses.


10 healthy adult Dutch Warmblood horses.


Electromyographic examination of the subclavian muscle in conscious nonsedated horses was performed to evaluate insertional activity, spontaneous activity, MUAP variables, and recruitment patterns. Muscle and body temperatures were measured at the beginning and end of the procedure. Amplitude, duration, number of phases, and number of changes in direction (ie, turns) for all representative MUAP were analyzed to determine values for this muscle in this group of horses.


Mean +/- SD duration of insertional activity was 471.7 +/- 33.45 milliseconds. Mean MUAP amplitude in the examined horses was 379 RV (95% confidence interval [CI], 349 to 410 microV). Mean MUAP duration of the subclavian muscle was 727 milliseconds (95% CI, 6.84 to 7.71 milliseconds). Mean number of phases was 2.9, and mean number of turns was 3.0. Prevalence of polyphasic MUAP defined as MUAP with > 4 phases, was 77%. Number of MUAP that had > 5 turns was 2.4%. Satellite potentials were found in 1.0% of the MUAP CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This study revealed that electromyography including MUAP analysis can be performed in horses, and values for the subclavian muscle in healthy adult horses can be obtained. Analysis of MUAP could be a valuable diagnostic tool for use in discriminating between myogenic and neurogenic problems in horses.

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