While frolicking in the pasture, racing, or show jumping:
All of a sudden, the horse suddenly collapses and dies within a few seconds.
One reason for this sudden death can be an aortic rupture, meaning that the main artery, located in direct vicinity of the heart (about one centimetre above the semi lunar valve where dilation of the aorta is restricted) tears or ruptures. In equine medicine there is no treatment yet for this condition. Generall sport horses are affected by this disease.
Throughout a horse’s life the heart pumps blood through the body. Blood that gets enriched with oxygen in the lungs flows through the left atrium into the left ventricle and from there is pumped into the body by way of the aorta. Arteries continue the blood transport to distribute it to all the organs. An aortic rupture causes inner bleedings or bleeding into the heart. This usually leads to instant death. It often occurs in the high performance sports horses. Often thoroughbreds or horses with a high percentage of thoroughbred blood are affected. There is no known preventative measure.
Aortic ruptures have also happened while at rest, but these are rare occurrences. Blood pressure will rise during or after stress and then it can happen spontaneously without pre-existing aortic damage. Sudden ruptures don’t just happen to older horses, it can’t be prevented, and there is not treatment for it.
So relish to the fullest each day you have with your buddy the horse!