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 – One of my friends suggested I get in touch with you for a direction to take with my John mule that was just tested for Cushing’s…..it came back positive. No insulin issues…thank goodness. He is 25 and no feet issues, other than I’m dealing with Seedy Toe on his right front hoof. I have been treating that with tea tree oil…the vet has removed all the infection I hope, he now has a shoe on and I keep an Easy Boot on him with gauze covering the area, until I can see some growth. Hasn’t taken one lame step, even though my vet has drilled down to the coffin bone. Anyway I’m looking to do my best by him, what do you suggest for a diet…I know low sugar….I was giving him 1/3 cup of Cyrpto and 1 pill from the vet for Cushing’s. Do you suggest a supplement? Thank you for any help.


A – The medication from your vet should help your mule feel much better. The crypto feed is high in starch but you are feeding a very small amount of it so I think you are fine. You may also want to add 1/4 cup chia seeds for extra antioxidant support.


Q – We recently got a new horse. He is a 16 yr old AQHA gelding. He has suffered some trauma in the past and we are trying to get him over it. He has performance anxiety (alley issues) he had been a little hot but as long as he was able to keep moving forward he was fine but at our last event he had a meltdown he reared and walked on his back legs refusing to go into the arena. It was dangerous for both him and the rider and we need to find a way to work through this behavior. We have had him chiropractic and acupuncture and a full vet check to rule out any physical pain. He has good manners and although a little stand offish is a gentleman to be around and is good around other horses. Once he is in the arena he is fine and works well…. Its just going in and out of the arena he has problems. He also gets stress around the roping chute but we are not planning on roping on him so we just avoid that stress factor.
We have given him Star of Bethlehem essence in hopes of helping him forget the past trauma. He is also getting turmeric to help with inflammation. Can you recommend anything else that might help him?


A – Your gelding is displaying classic behavior of a horse with an ulcer. There are so many products available for ulcers and some work on some horses but not others. The 2 products I like best are GastroPlus Pro and Succeed. These products help the largest number of horses and both support digestive health. You can these and other GI support products here. If ulcers are not the issue then we can do a nutritional consult to see what diet changes could help your horse feel better.


Q – Is there a way to cure a horse with canker?

A – Canker can be cured but it is a long process that requires surgical removal of the damaged tissue in the hoof. Regular cleaning and bandaging is required over a long period until the hoof heals. Homeopathy and blue green algae are both needed for the underlying imbalance that allowed the canker to develop.


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This entry was posted in Horse Health Care, Horse Ulcers on by .

About Madalyn Ward, DVM

This blog provides information based on my unique take on horse health and well being. The articles are based on experience of treating and working with horses for over 40 years. In most cases the articles are focused on an holistic approach to health and management. When conventional medicine offers good research or therapy, I share this information as well. Madalyn Ward, DVM