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<><> Dewormers <><> We are fortunate to have some fairly safe chemical dewormers such as Pyrantel and Fenbendazole, yet some people still prefer using natural products to support horse’s digestive and immune systems rather than using chemical dewormers. Regardless of which method you use, it is wise to double check your program with fecal exams at least twice a year.
<><> First Aid <><> When I practiced strictly conventional medicine I found that most horses suffered from minor injuries or infections at least several times a year. These minor emergencies kept me busy, and because they were so common most of my clients started keeping drugs on hand and learned to treat these conditions themselves.
When I began to treat my patients more holistically, with fewer vaccines and better nutrition (including use of probiotics such as Acidophilus), I noticed that horses had less and less need for drugs. My patients no longer needed bute or antibiotics for minor cuts and punctures. These wounds healed quickly and easily with no loss of riding time. Gone also was aggravating chronic nasal discharge that often kept horses out of work for weeks at a time.
A holistically managed horse with a healthy immune system will often run a fever for a short period of time when exposed to a virus or bacteria. This response slows pathogen’s growth and deprives it of nutrients. A short course of probiotics will help support horse during this time. Once fever breaks, horse bounces back quickly with little nasal discharge or cough. These horses then go right back to work without concern about relapse. Conventionally managed horses taking anti-inflammatories and antibiotics will often get better in short term, but then relapse or develop a chronic nasal discharge.
<><> The Results Are In! <><> The trail horse example I have used above precisely demonstrates what I have experienced in my practice. While it costs about same to manage a horse either conventionally or holistically, I’ve found that holistically managed horses are much healthier overall, which means fewer chronic problems and more days of riding time. In fact, conventionally managed horses have about 7 times number of sick days as holistically managed horses.
Madalyn Ward, DVM, co-author of “Holistic Treatment of Chronic Lamintis”, is certified in Veterinary Homeopathy, Chiropractic and Acupuncture. Through her website, Holistic Horsekeeping, (http://www.holistichorsekeeping.com), she publishes a free monthly newsletter, offers the Healthy, Happy Horse resource group, e-books, holistic horsecare products and information for horse and mule owners.