Holistic Horse Health: The Buzz From the Barn

Madalyn 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 our Holistic Horsekeeping and Horse Harmony Facebook pages.

Q – I had the vet out for my mare because her flanks have been severely drawn up and her top line is even more pronounced. It’s beginning to look a little shelf like and then drops down normally. Her coat is shiny and healthy looking and her ribs aren’t showing. I started giving her aloe vera juice in the mornings and just started her on the turmeric paste. She is still eating with an appetite. Her butt looks old too, like not filled out anymore. The vet felt she may have EPM based on the muscle wasting and he could easily get her off balance pulling her tail and the fact that she’s so drawn up. She also will just stand in the pasture sometimes looking really dejected, hanging her head. The vet explained that there is inflammation and it could be like she has a bad headache. I went ahead and had him draw blood for regular labs and also send off to lab to test for EPM. I realize it could just indicate past exposure, but it could be activated with the stress of moving and new horses and all that right? Anyway, I can’t afford standard treatment and he said there was another promising treatment that was not FDA approved yet that was much cheaper. Sounds like you have some other treatment options. Would you mind giving me your thoughts?

A – I use a natural product called Karbo Combo to treat suspected cases of EPM that have not advanced too much.I hope this will help your mare and it is good for her even if she does not have EPM. My other thought about the loss of top line could be Cushing’s. You would also need a blood test to diagnose this condition that is very common in older horses and easily treated with diet and medication.

Q – I have been having problems with my mare kicking the pipe corrals and squealing in the middle of the night and early mornings. She is separated from my boarder’s mare, but still gets very frustrated by her. I’m concerned about her injuring her back legs from the kicking and also waking the neighbors. I have just separated the corrals so they cannot touch one another, but this morning there was still kicking and squealing going on. Is it time to move my boarder’s mare out or do you have any other solutions?

A – I wonder if your mare is having trouble with her liver and that is making her more irritable. Sometimes a course of the homeopathic remedy nux vomica 30c, given twice a day for 3 days will help detox the liver in a gentle way. Another option is milk thistle seeds, 1 tbs twice a day for 3 weeks. The herbal mix, RelaxHer can also quiet irritable mares. You can get the nux at any health food store that carries homeopathics. If the mares continue to fight you may have no option but to separate them further.