Exercising arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in horses: Review of the literature and comparative aspects

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Arrhythmias are common in equine athletes during and immediately after exercise. Many of these rhythm variations are not clinically relevant. In horses, a link between different exercising arrhythmias and poor performance or between exercising arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD) is strongly suspected but not fully understood or proven. SCD during races or competitions is rare, but has catastrophic consequences for the safety of the human partner and public perceptions of welfare during equestrian sports. This review summarises current knowledge of equine exercise arrhythmias and their implications in SCD and compares existing principles and recommendations for equine subjects with those for human athletes.

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