Holistic Horsekeeping Newsletter March 2016

March 2016

4 steps to do if your horse gets a viral infection

Holistic Horsekeeping
How to have a healthy happy horse.
Volume 21, Number 3


In This Issue:

1. 4 steps to do if your horse gets a viral infection
2. Learn More About Horse Temperament Typing


1. 4 steps to do if your horse gets a viral infection
Madalyn on horseThe most likely viruses to infect your horse include the common respiratory or digestive varieties. Luckily, these viruses are limited to the fast replicating cells of the respiratory and digestive epithelium and they do not infect deeper cells in the body. Clinical symptoms are caused by the death of infected cells damaged by the virus. Here are 4 steps to do if your horse gets a viral infection?

First, you want to determine if you are dealing with a virus or bacteria because the treatment is different. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics and giving antibiotics to a horse with a virus can cause more harm than good. Clinical signs for common viruses generally come on rapidly, are intense, are confined to the respiratory or digestive tract and often involve multiple animals in the herd.

Bacterial infection symptoms often come on slowly, are low grade, can involve multiple organs or parts of the body, and can affect only one animal. Bacterial infections can be secondary to tissue damage from viral infections or develop in a tissue that has been compromised by an injury. Primary bacterial infections are uncommon but a classic example would be strep infections such as equine strangles.

Second, you want to give your horse supportive pre and probiotics. Viral infections disrupt the normal protective layers of beneficial bacteria that live in the spaces between epithelial cells in the respiratory and digestive tract. These bacteria serve multiple purposes including first line of immunity against invading pathogens, aiding in nutrition to epithelial cells, and providing a mechanical barrier against pathogens getting through the lining tissues and into the bloodstream. I like a probiotic blend that includes blue green algae and wheat sprouts. This product can be given by dissolving it in water if your horse is not eating. You may need to give 3 to 4 times the maintenance dose initially and cut back on amounts when your horse begins to respond.

Third, you want to support the healing of the damaged cells. Symptoms such as coughing or diarrhea are caused by damage to the cells infected by the virus. Fever is an immune response to the virus to slow its replication and make it weaker so the immune system can destroy it. Early in a viral infection you do not want to suppress any symptoms as these are natural consequences and are self-limiting. What you want to do is immediately support the regeneration of the damaged epithelial tissues and the re-establishment of healthy bacterial populations that live in the lining of the respiratory and digestive tracts.

Respiratory viruses are often more intense during cold weather so it is important to keep your horse as warm as possible. A heat lamp placed above one corner of the stall may be better than a blanket so the horse can seek the heat when he desires it. You also want to provide nutrition specifically to regenerate the damaged tissues. Vitamin C is a very important nutrient needed to heal damaged tissue. It also has an anti-inflammatory action, especially when combined with quercetin as in Citrus C/Q.

Last, but not least, is rest. Once your horse has contracted a virus he will need a break from work to fully recover. I usually say 3 weeks rest after all symptoms have reversed and your horse is acting normal. Most chronic problems following viral infections can be traced to putting a horse back in work too soon. Giving your horse a full mental as well as physical break is needed as he will not feel his best and this can affect his attitude toward training.

No one wants to see their horse get sick but it happens. If you know these 4 steps to do if your horse gets a viral infection you can avoid long term damage and get your horse back to work in a timely manner. If you give your horse this extra support he can bounce back healthier and often happier after having a break from work.

2. Learn More About Horse Temperament Typing
Caring for your horse according to his own individual needs starts with having an understanding of the type he is. In the Horse Harmony book you gain an understanding of the different temperament types and how best to work with and care for each. The sequel to Horse Harmony is Horse Harmony: The Feeding Guide that goes more into the nutritional needs of each temperament type. If you are looking to gain deeper insight into the personality of your horse, how to care for him or her based on individual needs, and how to work with or just get along with your horse better, this information is for you. Here are some of the resources we have available to help you discover your horse’s temperament type and to help you establish a better relationship with your horse.

Introduction to Five Element Types and Temperaments

Horse Temperament Balancing Formulas

Understanding Horse Types and Temperaments online course at Tallgrass

Horse Harmony Kindle book

Horse Harmony and Horse Harmony: The Feeding Guide paperback books, ebooks, and audios

Consult with a Typologist

Mentoring Program one on one with Dr. Ward

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