Tag Archives: cough

Helping Your Horse Deal With Stress

Stresses such as chronic pain, long-distance travel, or environmental changes can compromise the immunity of your horse. . Allergies, heaves, thrush, insect bite reactions, and hives all can reflect a struggling immune system, as can the more obvious signs of respiratory disease.

Healthy, well-managed pastures supply your horse with many important nutrients, including vitamins E, A (as beta carotene), and C. Grasses are also high in omega-3 fatty acids in the proper proportion to omega-6s. And if a variety of grasses and clover grow in your pasture, you can expect the protein quality to be good.

While free access to pasture often provides most of the nutrients your horse requires to remain healthy, many horses rely on hay as their main forage source.  Hay loses some of its vitamins and omega-3s in storage, so horses consuming only hay for prolonged periods of time (more than three or four months without fresh pasture) might require additional feed supplementation. If your horse exhibits signs of suppressed immune function (e.g., signs of respiratory infections including a runny nose, coughing, and fever; recurrent thrush; bacterial infections; fever; allergic reactions; and general malaise), it’s time to boost his diet’s nutrient content. One of the immune products I use (going on 12 years with spectacular results) is Transfer Factor. You can read more about it on my blog.

Your horse might also need Vitamin E to fill nutritional gaps and maintain a healthy immune system:

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants protect against disease by neutralizing the damaging free radicals (unstable molecules with an unpaired electron that pull electrons from other molecules) that mental and physical stress produce.

Vitamin A and C are also important for immune function. Vitamin C has been shown to be an effective supplement in reducing the effects of stressful travel.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation as well as allergic inflammatory response in other species. Researchers at the University of Guelph’s Equine Research Centre found evidence that the fatty acid source flax seed can potentially reduce the allergic inflammatory response in horses susceptible to biting midges. Omega-6 fatty acids can exacerbate inflammatory responses if fed in large amounts, but omega-3s do just the opposite–they help inflammation subside. I keep a coffee grinder in the barn to grind flax seed fresh daily.

Spirulina Blue/green algae reportedly reduces allergy signs and improves respiratory function in animals.

Massage is another way to reduce stress in the performance horse. At horse shows, sports massage can make the difference between a nervous, uptight horse and a relaxed happy performer.


Horses and Transfer Factor

Dr. Molly Metz, DVM, Lexington, Kentucky

  • A 3-yr-old warmblood with history of chronic cough and nasal discharge was unresponsive to antibiotics. Within two weeks of being on transfer factors, both the nasal discharge and cough went away. This colt is being maintained on a maintenance dose of Transfer Factor for Horses and Livestock.
  • A 19-yr-old late gestation mare had stringhalt, ataxia, and moderate ear droop. I began the mare on TF Performance and Show to improve its immune function prior to foaling. After 30 days of being on the TF Performance and Show, this mare had no evidence of stringhalt or ataxia, and only a mild ear droop. This is the first time in her life she was able to pull her ear forward in a normal position. She also is cushionoid and suffered miserably in last summer’s heat, being unable to sweat. This spring, when temperatures reached 80 degrees, she was sweating in the field.
  • I had a 2-year-old thoroughbred filly with a history of multiple bone pain and suspected neurological condition. This filly was diagnosed with physitis in multiple bones (via bone scan) and as a wobbler on radiographs. I placed her on the animal products to see if she could be improved enough to go into training. The farm has begun breaking her and her movement has improved by approximately 80%. I am waiting to hear if the farm feels she’s good enough to go to the track.

Dr. Joe Raemakers, DVM – “We recently had an experience with a 30-year-old horse who had a leg swollen from infection. I applied transfer factors directly to the leg and within 6 days the swelling was totally gone. I checked his lymphocyte level and he had a 27% increase since the use of transfer factors. THAT’S JUST PHENOMENAL!”

Rob Robertson, M.D. – “Nearly everything that goes wrong with us and our pets, with the exception of trauma – i.e. broken bones, etc., can be traced directly to an immune system failure”. Pollution, drug overload and nutrient-poor diets compromise our immune health. The key to self-healing is a strong defense system, which protects dogs and cats from everything from the flu germs to cancer cells. More than their mainstream counterparts, holistic veterinarians believe that a weak immune system plays a key role in causing disease. Drugs aren’t the answer for immune enhancement. The immune system is not responsive to drugs for healing. Antibiotics fight infection, but they don’t affect whatever weakened the immune system in the first place. This is why holistic veterinarians focus less on things that cause diseases and more on those that affect the body’s defenses.

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