Holistic Horse Health: The Buzz From the Barn

Madalyn Ward, DVM shares her answers to specific holistic horse care questions from clients.

Madalyn with horseClient #1 Question –
Q – I have an Appaloosa who seems to always be itchy… I can’t see anything wrong with her and she is a healthy horse! But she always has itchy back legs! Today when we were out riding she ended up running backwards into long grass and fell over all because of itchy legs!! Is there anything that can help with this?

A – It is very unusual for itching to only occur on the hind legs. My question would be, does your horse have white back legs and color on the front legs? If so, you could be looking at photosensitization that can occur after eating certain types of clover. Another possibility is poor circulation or nerve supply to the hind legs causing the skin to be dry and itchy. Poor circulation can be caused by internal organ problems or back problems. A good osteopathic exam would give you an idea what is going on.

Client# 2 Question –
Q –  I have long suspected that my Jue Yin horse has some type of muscle issue disease. I tested him for PSSM about 5 years ago and he came back negative for type 1. I have not done the muscle biopsy for type 2, and since he is a mustang I don’t have any bloodlines to check. I have been feeding him low sugar starch hay for the past 5 years and supplemented with Vit E, selenium, magnesium and salt and he has done okay. He has periodic tying up episodes which I can usually manage with bodywork, arnica and rescue remedy.

About a year ago I added aceytl-l-carnitine which helped for awhile. The past few months it hasn’t seemed to do much so I have stopped it. So I am back to scratching my head about him. I started him on chia seeds about two weeks ago and am giving 2 ounces per day. I also tried him on a small amount (1/8 of a cup) of cocosoya oil, which he hated. So I am trying straight coconut oil, which he loves. I am giving 1/8 of a cup twice a  day.

Do you think this is too much fat for him and/or is coconut oil bad and should I be trying vegetable oil?

I know he needs more exercise and that is hopefully the final piece to the puzzle. I did notice that almost immediately after starting the coconut oil that his hind end muscles softened and he was more interested in using his hind end. We still have a ways to go……

A – I would use a mix of chia and coconut oil. Both of these have good omega 3 levels and won’t cause weight gain. Don’t give vegetable oil.  You may need to increase the mg occasionally if he seems tight. You could also increase the chia and coconut oil if you need to.

Client # 3 Question –
Q – I have this crazy gelding that has every stud-like tendency you can imagine who is making me nuts…..AND he is causing things to get torn up, getting horses hurt, and I’m just waiting for him to run another horse over me. Do you know of any herbs or ???  that might help him?

A – Try red raspberry leaves, a good size handful twice a day. I have them in my website store.

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, let me know by leaving a comment below. You can also find me on Facebook where I always appreciate a LIKE. To order any of the products mentioned in this post or other  products for you or your horses, please visit my online store.

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