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 and our Holistic Horsekeeping and Horse Harmony Facebook pages.

Q – I am somewhat confused about all the brouhaha about Omegas. I understand the importance of Omega 3, 6, 7 & 9 and I do supplement my 13 year old Arabian gelding with such. At which point can it be too much? In reviewing all my supplements added to his daily buckets, he receives 4 oz Chia seeds twice a day, 3 oz. of liquid Seabuckthorn berry oil. Both are high in Omegas. My horse has a traumatic past, stall bound for 7 of his 9 years until I rescued him at 9 and a half. He was a stallion also. He has since been gelded, broke only for the past 1 and a half years and now can be handled. He lightly cribs which is dissipating too thanks to care, work and going out. He’s the king of gas and it also sadly becomes colic. Not sure if the above, which supposedly is to help, might contribute to his sensitivity. He free feeds Timothy in a net, receives 1/2 flake oat hay and 1/2 flake Alfalfa twice a day. I “cook” for him 2 times a day as well. Not sure if I should list the other ingredients as well. My vet is not holistic and finds my ideas to be useless or unproven. Any help is appreciated. Aside from gas, my horse is a 10 in my heart and stunning at 13.

A – 4 oz of chia seeds and 3 oz of seabuckhorn is not too much omega 3 fatty acids. If your horse is doing well with these products I would stay with them. You should not need any additional fat in his diet. You can give this amount once a day or divide it and give twice a day.

Q – My 28 year old gelding has been coughing up phlegm for about 2 weeks. His overall attitude is fine and he seems to feel okay, he just goes into coughing fits and then coughs up phlegm. His breathing is fine, actually better than in the summer when he is bothered by humidity. I started him on Wysong Equine Diet about a month ago. Since it was relatively new we took him off for a few days but the coughing is sporadic and doesn’t seem to correlate with the feed. He is also on alfalfa and grass hay. He is no longer turned out to pasture. In my head I keep going back to the feed. But, I’m wondering if you can recommend a natural decongestant? Also, do you have any ideas other than it being feed related?

A – Does your gelding get any other supplements or added fat in his diet?
It is possible the cough is related to his heart function. You may want to add some hawthorn herb to his diet and some kidney support herbs such as uvi ursi. Also notice if his cough is worse in humid weather.

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