Madalyn Ward, DVM shares her answers to specific holistic horse care questions from clients.
Q – I am looking for some ideas. Two of my horses broke a panel and then pushed open the door to the tack room where the feed is kept this afternoon. We were gone at work and did not find them until we came home. They are not colicing, just passing a lot of gas. I have always heard that when a horse overeats it can founder. So I checked their feet and they do seem warmer than normal, especially when compared to the other horses. My biggest question is…what can I do to head off a founder (if anything)?
A – If your horses are doing OK today they are probably fine. If this happens again, don’t give any grain for 48 hours and give nux vomica 30c twice a day for 2 or three days as a precaution. Go ahead and start this program if you think the feet are still warm or if you feel any elevated digital pulse. You can feel the digital pulse at the back of the pastern or at the level of the fetlock.
Q – What is your recommendation for a 4 year old filly with slipping stifles? She is not started under saddle, so riding straight lines and hills is not an option. I cannot jog her because my knees are bad. I have her turned out on a 1/4 acre lot that has a large sloping hill in it. She is never stalled, always has about this much room to move around. I have put hay, water, and another horse in opposite corners to encourage movement.
I have a few hilly acres that are not fenced for horses, but I could turn her out there daily if I stayed with her and walked as she explored. But how long do I let her roam out there for each day? Once she gets used to being out there, she will most likely follow me wherever I go. I am assuming this is a growth spurt, but I know it bothers her, sometimes she just kicks the air violently over and over.
Is there a nutritional means to support or tighten the ligament?
A – Often these young horses improve from stifle problems when they develop enough muscle to support the stifle joint. Backing can help to build the hindquarter muscles. Muscle Mass Pro is a nutritional supplement that helps to build muscles. http://holistichorsekeeping.com/hhk_shop/joint-muscle-tendon-support. You may want to use the Muscle Mass and do some backing from the ground.
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