Holistic Horse Health: The Buzz From the Barn

Madalyn with horseMadalyn Ward, DVM shares her answers to specific holistic horse care questions from clients. To see more questions and answers on real holistic horse care situations check out the Horse Health Hotline postings.

Q – I am curious to know if there are any recommendations for a more holistic approach to prevent sand colic… if that exists… I don’t currently do anything for it, but my horses have sand stalls that they spend the night in.

A – Your best protection against sand colic is to maintain good gut motility. Daily probiotics will help keep the gut healthy and able to move small amounts of sand that are ingested over time. I love this product for supporting gut health.

Q – I am having issues with my ex racehorse that I have owned for a year. She was known to be very snuggly and affectionate, thrived and kept weight on easily. She was an easy keeper and the barn favorite. I purchased her from sunny and hot California and she arrived to an incredibly cold Montana winter. She had lost a lot of weight on the trip and she struggled to recover throughout the rest of the winter. She struggled to get along with the other horses and still seems aloof and disconnected. I treated her for ulcers in the spring. Then she had a sensitivity to gnat bites which had never happened in her history. Her heat cycles became more apparent. Basically her health somewhat unraveled despite my best efforts to supplement her. She is fed free choice quality hay, triple crown grain, and gets supplements. I feel that she has every reason to be physically healthy but I think there is emotional trauma from the change in environment last year that set all of this in motion. I just don’t know how to help her. Her previous owner sent me some videos of her being incredibly affectionate and I realized that I don’t own that horse. She is disconnected aloof from people and other horses. Do you have any suggestions? I believe she is an earth horse.

A – It sounds like your mare has developed a leaky gut and this is where you want to focus your support. If the condition is mild you may be able to help her with a predigested feed such as Thrive and a low starch hay. Stop all supplements for now except for gut support. I suggest a product called GastroPlusPro. If you see your mare’s attitude improving then stay with this program for at least 6 months to allow her gut to heal.

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