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 – Every summer my Icelandic mare rubs the lower half of her mane off. Can you offer anything to put on her mane to keep it from itching?

A – I use a mix of 24 oz Skin So Soft, 1 qt witch hazel, and 1 pound epson salts diluted in 2 gallons water. You may also want to look at the possibility onchocerca larvae. These larvae can be killed by double dose of ivermectin dewormer given every 2 weeks for 3 doses. It is also important to support the immune system of the horse with AFA blue green algae or spirulina. Give a minimum of vaccines.

Q – I have a client whose 22 year old horse was diagnosed a few years ago with Cushing’s (and navicular, incidentally) and I am wondering if you recommend kelp for such a horse? There seems to be a lot of talk about the thyroid gland and IR/Cushing’s horses….but as I understand it, Cushing’s is related to the pituitary gland. Regardless – my question still centers around feeding kelp to a Cushing’s horse, as I’m wondering if the iodine found in the kelp would have a positive impact? He is responding positively to the acuscope/myoscope and myofascial release therapy, so any food that will HELP his body is obviously a great direction to go.

A – I have had Cushing’s horses respond well to kelp. I suggest Source because this product uses kelp that is lower in iodine so toxicity is not an issue. Diet is critical and some horses will do best on the drug, Pergolide, along with natural products for support. Antioxidants are critical to slow the progression of Cushing’s. I carry a product called Cushing’s Plus which contains many antioxidants.

Q – Do you have any products for sand in horses I’ve heard the aloe might be helpful.

A – I have several products on my website that help with sand accumulation. The aloe we carry is very good and the Assure Guard is formulated to help prevent sand problems. Improving gut health and motility is one of the best ways to prevent sand colic. Both the aloe and Assure Guard support the gut.
Blue green algae products are also very good to support the good bacteria in the gut. The algae is a super food that feeds the good bacteria along with providing amazing nutrition for the horse.

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.