Horse Diseases

Diseases of Horses and Ponies

Here we describe various horse diseases and pony diseases (equine diseases), with reference to acupuncture, herbal treatment, homeopathic treatment, chiropractic manipulation etc., where appropriate. We invite and accept referrals for complementary and alternative medicine treatments.

see also: Horse Cases

go back to horse and pony main page: Horses

Horse & Pony Disease List

Abscess AllergyAllergies Anaemia Arthritis Atypical Myoglobinuria
Atypical Myopathy Aural Plaque Auto-immune Autoimmune Azoturia
Back & Neck Problems Behavioural Problems Bleeders
Bone Cysts Borreliosis Cancer Colic Collagen Necrosis
COPD – C.O.P.D Corneal Ulcer Cough Cracked Hoof
Crib Biting – Cribbing Cryptorchidism Cushings Disease Dermatitis Dermatophilus
Diarrhoea DJD DOMS Dysautonomia Fibrous Dysplasia
Fistulous Withers Gastric Ulcer Grass Sickness Greasy Heel
Guttural Pouch Haematoma
Head shaking Head-shaking Headshaking Heaves HerpesEquine Herpes
Hives Hoof Abscess Hoof Quality Hormonal Problems Infertility
Influenza Injury Joint ill Kissing Spines Klebsiellosis
Lameness LaminitisFounder Ligaments Liver Disease Lyme Disease
Lymphangitis Mastitis Melanoma Monorchidism
Moonblindness

Moon Blindness

Mud Fever
Myoglobinuria Navel ill Navicular Nodular Skin Disease OCD
Ophthalmia Osteomyelitis Paralysis
Pedal Ostitis Periodic Ophthalmia Photosensitisation Proud Flesh
Rain Scald Quittor RAO – Recurrent Airway Obstruction
Recurrent Uveitis – ERU Retained Testicle Rhabdomyolysis Ringbone – Ring Bone Ringworm
Rug Sores Saddle Sores Saddling Problems Salmonellosis Sand Crack Sandcrack
Sarcoids Scour Seedy Toe Sesamoiditis Set FastSetfast
Shigellosis Shivering Shoeing Problems
SideboneSide Bone Silicosis SinusitisSinus Problems Skin Problems Spavin
Splints (Equine Splints) Stomach Ulcer Strangles Sunburn
Suspensory Sweeney Sweet ItchSweetitch Teething
Tendons Testicle Retained Thrush
Tooth Abscess Tying Up Ulcer – Ulceration Undescended Testicle
Urticaria Uveitis Vaccination Problems Virus
Warts White Line Separation Wind Sucking Wobbler Wounds

In addition to the above links, we have a suite of brief introductory pages for quick reference on the following:

AllergiesArthritisAutoimmune DisordersBack ProblemsBehavioural ProblemsCancerCOPDCushingsEquine Recurrent UveitisEquine SarcoidERUHeadshakingLamenessLaminitisMoonblindnessMud FeverParalysisPeriodic OphthalmiaRecurrent OphthalmiaRecurrent UveitisSarcoidSweet Itch

If these prove useful to readers and if we receive requests for others, we shall try to oblige as soon as possible.


ABSCESS

Abscesses occur most commonly in the hoof, either following injury, puncture wound or laminitis degeneration. We have found from experience that antibiotics have not been necessary to treat hoof abscesses, so long as the abscess is properly opened and good homeopathic prescribing is used (e.g. Hepar sulphuris in the acute phase) to help drive out infection. We believe, and experience bears out the theory, that the body is sufficiently well equipped to deal with such infections if it is both healthy and well-managed. Relying on antibiotics to treat a hoof abscess can lead to less careful management and poorer or slower resolution (see also: Hoof Care).

Puncture wounds should be treated with homeopathic Ledum and the wound should be opened to allow drainage. If a nail has gone close to or crossed the white line, the shoe and nail should be removed and the injury allowed to drain properly.

A poultice or dressing may be necessary to prevent mud from being forced into the wound. As a poultice for the foot, we favour the old Mag. sulph. paste (aka Morisons Paste) to expensive prepared starch-type poultices, which can struggle to keep close contact to the required area. This is a powerful and very effective means of drawing out lymph and, with it, the infection.

Abscessation of lymph glands can follow infection of a tooth root or can result from Strangles. Again, skilled homeopathic prescribing can usually deal with Strangles or with a tooth abscess.

An abscess can develop elsewhere on the body but that is not a common call on our time. Treatment with homeopathy and warm bathing is usually adequate.



ALLERGY – ALLERGIES

What is it?

The term ‘allergy’ implies a malfunction of the immune system. The word is derived from Ancient Greek, to mean ‘other function’, so it is one of the few modern disease names that accurately and meaningfully describes the fundamental dysfunction, rather than simply describing signs and symptoms.

In allergy, the immune system responds inappropriately to ‘allergens’, which are materials that ‘trigger’ the reaction. These may be pollens, fly saliva, moulds or grass proteins. Removing or reducing these allergens in the environment of the horse may reduce the symptoms but will not cure the problem.

Diseases in horses that have probable allergic components are Headshaking, Urticaria, COPD, Laminitis and Sweet Itch

What causes it?

This is not known with certainty but any powerful immune challenges, such as severe viral infections or vaccination, are likely candidates.

Is it treatable?

By and large, the answer is yes.

In conventional medicine, it is usual to try to suppress the allergic reaction with anti-inflammatory drugs (such as steroid/cortisone) or with anti-histamines. This is a life-time task and can, in fact, lead to a worsening of the disease in the longer term. A course of desensitising vaccines (immunotherapy) may be offered, which are based on the result of specific allergy tests. This technique seems to be aimed to ‘tire’, to ‘exhaust’ or to ‘wear out’ the immune system into non-reactivity, but only helps in a few cases.

In natural medicine, at the Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre, we try to rebalance the immune system, such that the allergic reaction ceases to occur. This may require individualised homeopathic constitutional prescribing and/or a remedy based more on specific troublesome symptoms (homeopathy), in order to resolve the tendency to allergy. Potentised allergens may also help in treatment, relieving signs and symptoms in the short term. In addition, herbs and acupuncture can play a part in treatment.

In either case, it is wise to try to reduce the allergenic challenge from the environment but, whereas in conventional medicine this is a permanent requirement, in natural medicine, a normal tolerance for the allergen may be re-established.

Diet is an essential component of holistic treatment, in that the immune system will heal much faster and more effectively if given a natural healthy diet.

See also: Immunotherapy (Desensitising Injections) FAQ


ANAEMIA – ANEMIA

The term anaemia is usually applied to reduced red cells or haemoglobin (hemoglobin) pigment in the blood. It can occur as a result of haemorrhage (hemorrhage) or blood loss, damage to red cells or failure of production of red cells or combinations of these. It can also result from a shortage or deficiency of the raw materials required for haemoglobin production (viz. Iron, Folic acid and Vitamin B12), from viral disease and from adverse reaction to vaccination (vaccinosis). There is a rarer cause, from autoimmune processes.

In the case of haemorrhage or blood loss, the loss must be stopped, as a matter of urgency. For instance, if the blood loss is due to worm infestation, that must be treated. If due to injury, the bleeding must be prevented by pressure or other appropriate intervention.

Poisoning by rat poison (rodenticide) is not usual in horses but can be a possible cause in dogs and cats.

Diagnosis is usually by a combination of the pale appearance of mucous membranes, slow capillary refill, lethargy, altered heart beat or blood sample.

Holistic treatment is usually very effective. We establish the cause, as best we can, eliminating any ongoing cause and providing a correct diet. We then use homeopathy, as a stimulus to optimum red blood cell and haemoglobin production. In the case of autoimmune (or immune-mediated) anaemia, homeopathic constitutional treatment is usually successful.


ARTHRITIS

What is it?

The term ‘arthritis’ implies inflammation of a joint or joints. Taken literally, this can include a simple sprain but it is more often used to describe osteo-arthritis, in which long-term bony changes occur in the skeleton, around the joints. These changes can result in swelling and deformation of the joint, with reduced range of flexion and extension. The resultant pain and altered movement can cause lameness or can, in bad cases, be quite crippling. This is possibly one of the the most common reasons for a lame horse or pony (limping horse).

What causes it?

Arthritis can result from a poorly healed injury, ruptured ligaments, developmental problems such as OCD, infective damage, surgery, repetitive strain injury, degenerative joint disease (DJD) or auto-immunity. The chronic inflammation around the joint stimulates new bone formation, which alters the shape of the joint, restricts the range of movement and gives rise to pain. Diet itself may play a part in aetiology.

Is it treatable?

By and large, the answer is yes. A cure may not be possible but positive responses can result in reduced symptoms or even apparent disappearance of symptoms in the best cases. Mobility and quality of life can generally be improved or restored and drug usage can be reduced or removed.

In conventional medicine, it is usual to try to suppress the inflammatory reaction and block the pain response with pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs (such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), steroid/cortisone or a combination of these). This is a life-time task and not every horse can tolerate these drugs. Progression of the disease is not altered by these drugs. Surgery may be offered, to alter the structure of the joint or to stabilise the increased movement.

In natural medicine, at the Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre, we try to stimulate healthier and more normal skeletal remodelling, aiming for long-term improvement in joint shape and structure. This is achieved using homeopathy and diet. We try to rebalance the body’s inflammatory responses, thus reducing or removing pain. In difficult cases, lameness and pain may be more directly controlled by acupuncture or by specific homeopathic or herbal medication. LASER therapy may also play a part. Magnet therapy shows great promise, in some cases (it is not usually possible to predict which cases) and can alter the whole situation over a period.

Diet is an essential component of holistic treatment, in that the immune system will heal much more quickly and more effectively if given a natural, healthy, unprocessed diet. Healthy skeletal structure depends upon feeding healthy raw materials, thus exploiting the opportunity presented by the inevitable constant recycling and replacement of the skeleton. The activity of inflammatory mediators can be modified through diet. Certain supplements may have a beneficial effect (e.g. vitamins, essential fatty acids and cartilage precursors (but most are not ‘vegetarian’), alfalfa etc.). Furthermore, some arthritis occurs solely as a result of an unhealthy processed diet.

In order to try to optimise the way in which the horse or pony uses his skeleton, we use chiropractic manipulation in each case. There are usually multiple skeletal misalignments in arthritis cases. Some of these may be part of the ‘cause’ and some may be part of the ‘effect’ of the disease. In either case, better movement results in better healing capability.

Many cases attest to the benefits of this approach.


ATYPICAL MYOGLOBINURIA – ATYPICAL MYOPATHY

Atypical myoglobinuria results not from over exertion of muscles but from exposure to harsh wet weather conditions, without adequate feeding, shelter or preparation.

Weakness, dark red/brown urine and absence of pain are common signs. Appetite and thirst are usually unaffected.

A blood test can easily confirm the diagnosis.

Affected horses can become weak enough to be unable to stand. It can affect groups of horses and and/or ponies.

The condition is avoidable if there is adequate shelter, suitable rugging, feeding according to need and by watching for severe weather conditions, bringing horses in if they are felt to be at risk. Of course, proper acclimatisation is also good protection but in spring and autumn, horses may be caught out by high winds and cold rain.

We recommend a healthy natural diet for horses at all times and treatment with homeopathy can make recovery more certain and more rapid.

*This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favourites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


 AURAL PLAQUE – CRUSTY EARS – SCALY EARS – EAR FUNGUS

When affected by aural plaque, horses have creamy-white, scaly lesions of uncertain origin, inside the ear flap. It is usually non-painful, although some horses appear to suffer a degree of irritation or sensitivity. Causative factors that have been proposed include gnat bites and wart viruses. Natural medicine has often been successful in the treatment of this condition, sometimes with a combination of homeopathy and aromatherapy.

This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favourites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


AUTOIMMUNE (AUTO-IMMUNE) DISORDERS

Autoimmune disorder is the subject of a .pdf document (click here for .pdf Information Sheet) or here for an introductory page.

We find that many cases of autoimmune disorder resolve coincidental with homeopathic input (homeopathy).


AZOTURIA
Setfast – Tying up – Myoglobinuria – Monday Morning Disease – Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

What is it?

Azoturia is an acute condition in which by-products of working metabolism accumulate in muscles, during exercise, reaching levels that cause the muscles to go into sudden and very painful spasm. The unfortunate horse becomes ‘planted’, appearing totally unable to move. The condition is predisposed by dietary factors and by inappropriate exercise patterns.

Is it treatable?

In the acute phase of azoturia, homeopathic Aconite and Nux vomica can be very useful first-aid measures (homeopathy). Acupuncture may also help at this stage. Gently coaxing the horse into a slow walk is important. Once this phase has passed, it is important to allow rest for at least twelve hours, with regular short walks. It usually leaves no scarring or permanent damage. Prevention of further attacks is obviously the way forward.

Repeated sufferers of this problem are often presented to the Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre, and they usually respond well to acupuncture, homeopathy and diet treatments.

Prevention

It is important to ensure a natural diet (preferably cereal-free) that is appropriate to the amount of exercise being taken. Sometimes, the condition can be brought on by reducing the workload, without reducing the diet accordingly. If cereal is required, to cope with extreme exercise demands, then oats provide the best source of ‘slower-release’ energy. Exercise should be regular and not suddenly increased or decreased.

Electrolytes are important, but should not contain artificial colouring, flavouring or ‘fillers’ (e.g. cereal). This proviso greatly limits the products available, since so many meaninglessly have these useless and sometimes damaging extra ingredients.

See also: atypical myoglobinuria


BACK PROBLEMS & NECK PROBLEMS

Back problems – Neck problems

Back problems and Neck problems are the subject of a .pdf document: (Back & Neck Problems in Horses).

At the AVMC, we have a special interest in equine back problems. We use chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, LASER therapy, homeopathy and herbs, depending upon the case. Back pain can be very distressing for the working horse but, unless the rider is aware of how to see it, it can go unnoticed. Sadly, a veterinary examination will rarely reveal spinal misalignments, since vets are not trained to see the problem.

A horse that is suffering a back problem, neck problem or spinal problem will fail to ‘track up’ properly, will rarely stand ‘square’, will find it difficult to stand ‘square’ when asked and will show scoliosis. A working horse will fail to show symmetrical capability (i.e. will not be able to turn one way so well or will not be able to trot or canter so well, on one or other rein).

What is it?

Back pain can be extremely disabling for a horse. Problems can vary from simple soreness, with sensitivity to pressure, through spinal and pelvic misalignments to a full-blown injury. There may or may not be chronic pathology.

You can recognise back problems and back pain by the horse’s reaction to grooming and manual pressure. He may not have a symmetrical hind limb action and his tail may be held to one side. He may hold his head too high or even lift his head sharply during upward transitions. Neck problems can often be recognised through abnormal head movement.

Girth sensitivity or pain may be a problem and sensitivity to girthing can originate with the thoracic vertebrae (wither). This may or may not originate with incorrect saddling. It can result from primary injury or trauma, e.g. from a fall. There may also be contra-lateral pelvic problems, either as a secondary effect or playing a causative part.

The existence of back problems appears to have been largely ignored or denied by the veterinary profession, over the years. More recently, however, there is greater recognition of the existence of problems, since the discovery of ‘kissing spines’.

Is it responsive to treatment?

The conventional response to back problems is to use anti-inflammatory agents. These will sometimes reduce symptoms but will do little to address the cause.

Proper resolution of back problems cannot take place, however, until any spinal or pelvic misalignments are corrected (McTimoney Chiropractic). The Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre performs chiropractic manipulation work, alongside the healing stimulus of acupuncture, LASER and homeopathy. This integrated approach is usually enough to correct most back problems. Advice is also given on therapeutic and preventive static or dynamic exercise programmes. We have a special interest in back work, at the AVMC.

Even the independent NHS watchdog, NICE (N.I.C.E. – National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), has recognised the potential benefit from acupuncture and manipulation in the relief of human back pain (as of May 2009 –

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6368290.ece).

However, many conventional vets appear to be very suspicious of the practice, to the potential detriment of many of their patients.

‘The Back Man’

There are many ‘back people’ who ply their trade. Animal-qualified chiropractors are examined by the McTimoney Chiropractic Association. These are genuine. Of those without this qualification, some will, of course, also be genuine but caution is advised in using someone without the qualification. Some self-appointed back people are frankly dangerous.

Physiotherapists work on the musculature, which can be very valuable in suitable cases, but most with whom we have had contact do not acknowledge spinal misalignment.

All chiropractors, osteopaths, physiotherapists and other manipulators are required, by the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, to work only on the recommendation of a vet and under the supervision of a vet.

Gadgets

Many pieces of equipment are recommended, by salespersons or practitioners, for back problems. Ultra-sound, LASER therapy, Magnet, Faradic and TENS are but a few of these. Before embarking on such programmes, which can be expensive quite apart from safety and welfare considerations, please consult your vet, to enquire about suitability or safety for the particular horse. You may need to consult a vet who is experienced in a full range of holistic therapies for horses, to access the necessary expertise to evaluate these tools, since it can be wasteful and futile simply to use such treatments in isolation.

Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Homeopathy can make a useful contribution to integrated pain management (integrative pain management).

See also: Pelvic misalignment articleSaddling ProblemsSaddlingKissing Spines

and: http://www.chiropractic-vet.co.uk – opens in a new window.


BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS

Behavioural problems are manifest in many different ways. It is preferable to split them into two broad categories:

a) those problems associated with difficult behaviour that arise from the inborn nature of the horse or from acquired aversion responses to noxious stimuli, through accident, trauma, insensitive treatment or other cause.
b) those that arise from aversion to ongoing adverse stimuli, from diet, saddling, back problems or other source of pain.

It is clear that treatment of these two will take a different course.

In the first category, there may be some fundamental part of a horse’s make-up, which needs to be addressed by homeopathic treatment. Training, sensitive handling and management, diet and natural therapy (including homeopathy, acupuncture, aromatherapy, bach flowers etc.) will play a part. It must be said that we very rarely find a horse whose very nature makes him intractable or ‘ungenuine’.

In the second category, attention to the ongoing cause is essential, and should be the first step. The problem may then subside without treatment, or with natural therapy for any residual pain or inflammation. It is in this category, perhaps surprisingly to many, that most behavioural problems are met.

At the Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre, we are involved daily in the process of unravelling ‘behavioural’ problems and attending to any aggravating causes. It is satisfying that many difficult cases respond to appropriate holistic methods. These include ‘crib-biting’, ‘windsucking’ (‘wind sucking’) and the distressing condition of ‘headshaking’, which latter is NOT a behavioural problem in our opinion. The former two may be related to gastric ulceration.


BLEEDERS

What is it?

The term ‘bleeders’ applies to horses that haemorrhage through the nose, usually from the lungs, after violent exercise. The volume of blood concerned may vary from slight to dramatic. The performance of the ‘bleeder’ horse may be markedly affected or he may even ‘stop’ during a race, as a result of the bleed.

How does it occur?

The cause of bleeding is not well understood but some severe immune challenge, such as virus or vaccine, may have a significant part to play. Dust allergy or pollen allergy (e.g. oilseed rape) may also be relevant in some cases.

Is it treatable?

Homeopathic treatment has a good record of success in this condition. It has the advantage that it can be used on the day of competition, without fear of doping or even of falling foul of doping rules.

There are, as in so many chronic conditions, many homeopathic medicines which may be relevant, depending upon the individual horse. The challenge presented in treatment is the inability to monitor results of any single treatment, without actually putting the horse to the test of extreme exercise (e.g. a race).

The patent ‘snake venom’ that is widely marketed is probably (possibly) of homeopathic origin and is able to help some horses. It fails, however, to take individuality into account. This is probably the reason for its failure in many cases.


BONE CYST

We often have to treat bone cysts in horses and results of holistic treatment have been very encouraging.

The precise cause of bone cysts is obscure but it is likely to be a developmental problem.

A natural, species-suitable diet is essential to a good outcome.

Homeopathic treatment in the long term and acupuncture in the short term (if there is pain and lameness) have been the mainstay of treatment.

*This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favourites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.


BORRELIOSIS (LYME DISEASE)

This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favourites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


CANCER

Cancer is the subject of a .pdf document (Cancer)

Cancer can affect horses. In particular, we have had to deal with Sarcoids and Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

A percentage of horses can beat squamous cell carcinoma, with the help and support of natural medicine (particularly homeopathy) and natural diet. Those in the eye have proved especially responsive.

Sarcoids are described in a separate section.

Cancer is, by and large, a disease of our times. It is a function of immune aberration. It is, unsurprisingly, those animals that are closest to us that have the most cancer. This implies that human influence or interventions must be high on the list of possible underlying causes. We pollute our air, water and food with so many chemicals and unknown and unquantified cocktails of chemicals, that the earth has never met before in its millions of years of existence. Yet we expect it to cope. We blast our planet and our bodies with electromagnetic pollution (e.g. mobile ‘phones, cordless telephones, Wi-Fi). We bombard our bodies and those of our animals with so much adverse material and influence that it should not be surprising when the system yields to this pressure on occasions.

Vaccinations (vaccination problems), pollution, food additives, agrochemicals, manufactured diets and suppression of simpler diseases are all possible potent causes, behind the general state of cancer. Vaccination itself may be a powerful cancer-predisposing influence, owing to its action on the immune system and its introduction of biological material and even cancer DNA (vaccination problems).

How can we beat it? Firstly, it is important to realise that some individuals can definitely do so, especially with the help and support offered by natural medicine (usually homeopathy) and holistic diet work. Secondly, it requires an all-out approach, with no half measures.


COLIC

The word colic literally describes abdominal pain. In the horse, this can be quite dramatic and distressful, for many species-specific reasons. It can arise most commonly from impaction of ingesta or from accumulation and entrapment of gas (impaction colic, spasmodic colic, gassy colic). These types will usually resolve, especially with the help of first-aid homeopathic remedies, like Nux vomica or Colocynth (homeopathy). Bach Rescue Remedy may also be helpful. While awaiting the vet, these medicines should be given and may resolve the case prior to his or her arrival.

More rarely, a case of ‘surgical colic’ can arise, which is, of course much more serious. This can occur as a result of abdominal growths or a twisted bowel. Homeopathic remedies will only be of limited, first-aid value, in such cases. A veterinary surgeon is usually necessary, to help diagnose the exact nature of the problem in any given case and to decide upon timely surgical intervention. It is a surgical emergency. If homeopathy is ineffective, it is very possible that it is a case of ‘surgical colic’.

It is advisable to stick to a non-manufactured fresh, sugar-free diet (i.e. one that contains no added molasses) and to try to avoid sudden changes of diet, sudden flushes of spring grass, sudden exposure to frosted grass, feeding dry food that can absorb water in the stomach and swell, feeding spoilt food and large drinks of cold water, following immediately on extreme exertion.

This is the subject of a .pdf document (Colic)


COPD – RAO

(Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – Recurrent Airway Obstruction)

COPD / RAO / Heaves is the subject of a .pdf document (COPD).

The condition of COPD or RAO used to be called heaves, in former ‘pre-scientific’ days. This terminology is creeping back into veterinary papers, since it is descriptive and accurate but there are other names (see above), which can make life very confusing.

The condition is often triggered by straw or hay dust (Aspergillus spp. moulds), tree pollens, elder flower pollen, rape pollen or other hedgerow irritants. It is of immune origin and vaccination or viruses may play a part in aetiology of the original underlying immune imbalance.

Homeopathy is usually successful in treating this condition. Acupuncture and Herbs may also help. In each case, we make dietary recommendations (natural feeding), in order to support immune balance and function.


CORNEAL ULCER

Erosion or abrasion of the superficial layers of the cornea of the eye is termed ‘corneal ulceration’. It can occur as a result of injury, self-inflicted injury or infection. We have sometimes seen ulceration in response to steroid treatments applied to the eye.

Holistic treatment of corneal ulcers has been so good, to date, that we have never had to operate (perform surgery) on any case that has been treated homeopathically from the outset.

There have been many stubborn and intransigent cases that have failed to respond to conventional drug treatment and sometimes even after unsuccessful surgery, in which recovery has followed on homeopathic intervention.

*This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favourites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


COUGH

Chronic cough can be a source of anxiety for riders, and carers, and can take the form of anything from a slight throat-clearing cough at start of exercise to something much more prevalent and worrying. The condition can be very intractable. One of the sources of chronic cough is, of course, COPD. There are, however, other causes, not all of which can be ‘diagnosed’ in the modern sense.

We see many cases that have been ‘scoped’ and tested, in every way known, only to be classed as ‘non-specific’ at the end of the day.

In all cases of chronic cough, a properly conducted holistic examination and homeopathic constitutional prescription is the correct approach, and stands a good chance of being able to reduce or remove the problem.

Herbs may also help. There are ‘patent’ herbal preparations on the market, few of which are likely to succeed, since they have not been formulated for a given individual patient. As with homeopathy, herbal medicine and, more especially, Chinese or Indian herbs, are correctly used only when prescribed on an individualised basis.

Homeopathic medicines, that have often been used successfully in past cases of chronic cough, when prescribed according to individual patient characteristics, are:

Aconitum, Antimonium tart., Bryonia, Calcarea carbonica, Carbo veg., Drosera, Ipecacuanha, Kali bich., Kali sulph., Lobelia, Lycopodium, Merc. sol., Natrum sulph., Nux vomica, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Sambucus, Sepia, Silica, Spongia, Stannum, Sulphur, Thuja, Tub. bov.


CRACKED HOOF – SAND CRACK – SANDCRACK

Cracked hoof (sand crack) refers to a form of hoof splitting in which the front wall shows a split running vertically from the tip of the toe. It follows the line of the horn fibres and can spread up as far as the coronet, if not properly controlled.

When there is a crack, a nutritional or hoof care issue is likely. Certainly, every effort must be made to encourage the crack to close again. Diet, herbs and careful foot trimming programme must be considered. Homeopathy may also provide valuable support to encourage healthier hoof growth.

If careful farriery fails to stop or to resolve a crack, we can offer a foot care programme that should be successful.

See also: Seedy Toe, White Line Separation, Hoof Care


CRIB BITING – CRIBBING – WIND SUCKING

Usually referred to in the horse world as a vice, crib biting can be amenable to holistic prescribing, dietary and management regimens. It can be related to stress, lifestyle and stomach ulcers. Chronic pain may also play a part. This renders the labelling generalisation as a ‘vice’ somewhat questionable.

Horses will grasp a rail, door top, manger or other object, arch the neck and gulp quantities of air.

Affected horses, if not successfully treated, will tend to lose weight, be prone to colic and stomach ulcers and cause damage to their teeth and their neck musculature.

HomeopathyDiet

*This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favourites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


CRYPTORCHIDISM

Monorchidism, Retained Testicle, Undescended Testicle

There are varying degrees of abnormality of descent of the testicles in the colt and the condition can be unilateral or bilateral. Having tried many methodologies over the years, we now feel able to say that we consider the best chances of success in treating this condition come from the use of integrated homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation and diet. It also seems to be the case that we have a reasonable chance of success if the testicle is palpable in the canal but much less so if it cannot be felt at all from outside.


CUSHING’S DISEASE

Hyperadrenocorticism

Cushings Disease or Cushings syndrome is not likely to yield to home-prescribed homeopathic first-aid remedies, so it is advisable to call in a qualified homeopathic vet, if you suspect this condition in your horse. It is typically characterised by failure to shed the winter coat, extreme hair growth, curly coated appearance, sour-smelling sweat, puffy face, upper eyelids swollen and an increased thirst. In more extreme cases, there is a tendency to an enlarged liver and belly, abnormal fat distribution over the body, chronic laminitis, tooth problems and general debility.

If not controlled, the condition is progressive and usually eventually fatal.

It arises from a malfunction of the Pituitary Gland or the Adrenal Gland or both. Sometimes, a tumour may be present in one or other gland. The impression is that this condition is becoming more prevalent, in domestic horses and ponies, possibly as a result of some human intervention. The underlying cause is not precisely known but immune challenges, such as virus infection or repeated vaccines, may increase the risk. We have seen the onset of cases soon after a booster vaccination.

Diagnosis is from clinical signs, suggestive blood results (enzyme levels) and high blood sugar. We do not usually recommend the more accurate but potentially traumatic diagnostic tests. We usually treat cases with herbs and homeopathy, which can successfully control most cases, especially if they are caught early. We have one or two surprising successes on record, in the treatment of advanced cases with severe foot changes.

It is not known whether the usual conventional drug treatment can be used alongside homeopathy, as we have no cases on record, in which this has been tried. In this condition, it is likely that conventional drug therapy would reduce the benefit of a homeopathic treatment. Treatment options have to be assessed, in the light of the seriousness of the situation and responses to one or other line of therapy.

In either case, life expectancy is likely to be reduced by this disease.

This is the subject of a .pdf document (Cushings Disease)

The links go to some case histories.

Case report

Case report

Case report


DERMATITIS

see Skin problems


DERMATOPHILUS

see Rain Scald


DIARRHOEA / SCOUR

There are many possible causes of chronic diarrhoea in horses, including Salmonellosis. Some cases come to us with no definitive diagnosis. If the diarrhoea has persisted for any length of time, there is usually a variable degree of weight loss and poor coat. It is generally unresponsive to antibiotics, which are not really advisable in such conditions, anyway.

At the AVMC, we rarely have a case that cannot be sorted, using homeopathic constitutional prescribing, specialist probiotics and a good, natural (non-manufactured) diet.

Case report


DJD

The acronym DJD stands for Degenerative Joint Disease, usually applying to fetlocks, knees, hocks or stifles. In it, both bone and cartilage can become damaged or cease to regenerate normally. It may be caused by trauma (injury), repetitive strain (e.g. from an unsuitable work programme or incorrect foot balance), nutritional problems or overuse. Homeopathy is usually well able to provide a solution, in the longer term, accompanied by a healthy diet and by an appropriate exercise programme. A prescription would usually include a remedy to suit the lameness and its individual characteristics, plus one of the Calcarea derivative remedies, suited to the horse’s constitution. Correct shoeing (foot balance) is also of importance, so much so that badly balanced feet will prevent resolution of this problem. Much of the work of the AVMC involves some form of joint disease.


DOMS

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

DOMS is the name given, in the modern habit of acronyms, to ‘delayed onset muscle soreness’, which usually follows strenuous, unaccustomed eccentric exertion of muscles. It is a natural defence mechanism, using pain to limit further muscle damage. It can be of great importance to the equine athlete or to the horse that is exercised strenuously after an inadequate training build-up.

Of course, a good state of nutrition is essential to muscle health, using a natural and horse-suitable diet (which criteria we believe most manufactured feeds do not satisfy). This should be in place for a considerable period prior to performance requirements.

A good build-up to exertion is important and should embrace a whole-body fitness programme, training all the muscles in anticipation of the work they may be required to perform. A high proportion of musculoskeletal injuries result from a failure to anticipate all the demands of equine sports correctly.

We also believe that correct skeletal alignment is essential to musculoskeletal health, stamina and resilience. Muscle soreness is a near certainty if a horse is worked with skeletal misalignment. We therefore advise regular chiropractic checks for sporting and performance horses.

Should the problem arise, for whatever reason, homeopathy is usually well able to provide relief and stimulate muscle healing.

*This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favourites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


EQUINE HERPES VIRUS

In our experience, homeopathy appears to be able to help a patient with herpes virus. There is also a nosode for prevention.

There are two strains of Equine Herpes Virus:

  • EHV1: associated with respiratory problems, abortion in pregnant mares and, much more rarely, neurological signs and possible paralysis.
  • EHV4: associated with respiratory problems and sometimes abortion in pregnant mares.

Early signs of the disease include:

A temperature

A cough

A nasal discharge

Inappetance

Horses that appear healthy may carry the herpes virus without signs and it is thought that most older horses have been exposed to the virus at some time in their lives. A blood test is available to see if a horse has recently been exposed to the virus, although the test cannot enable us to distinguish between viral antibodies and vaccinal antibodies.

Homeopathic constitutional prescribing will usually help a horse to throw off the infection and prevent the worst symptoms from developing.

There is a vaccine available. In common with all forms of conventional vaccination, there are dangers associated with the administration. Some horses react locally, with very painful and inflamed muscles or abscess. Some react more systemically, becoming ill. Others can become chronically ill or have an underlying health problem exacerbated.

There is a homeopathic nosode to offer protection to those horses for whom vaccination is considered unsuitable or is not wanted. It is however without full proof of efficacy. The nosode does not satisfy legal or sporting regulations.

Conventional vaccinations should not be given to horses suffering an illness, especially if there is an immune component to that illness (this is in fact an exclusion on the Data Sheet of vaccine products).


FIBROUS DYSPLASIA

The term fibrous dysplasia applies to a rare lesion of unknown aetiology, affecting one or more bones. It is characterised by a non-neoplastic, radio-translucent ‘growth’ on the bone, that feels hard but resilient, rather than stony. It can weaken the bone. We have never knowingly treated such a case at the AVMC but would expect homeopathy to stand a reasonable chance of helping in treatment. The usual approach to such a lesion is surgical removal but that is not always practical and is not always an attractive option, depending upon the site of the lesion.

*This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favourites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.



FISTULOUS WITHERS

Fistulous wither is not as common as it used to be. It is a chronic tracking infected lesion of the wither and its associated muscles, fascia etc. and is notoriously difficult to treat with conventional antibiotics, not least because natural ‘drainage’ is back into the hole created. Happily, in our experience of several stubborn cases treated with natural medicine and holistic methods, homeopathic intervention appears to render a gloomy prognosis unnecessary.

Homeopathy

This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favourites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


GRASS SICKNESS

Equine Dysautonomia

Grass Sickness is a serious and life-threatening disease of horses, usually affecting grazing animals, hence its name. The exact cause has been very obscure but theories now point towards botuliinum toxin as a trigger (botulism).

This is not a disease in which we can say homeopathy is the complete answer but we have seen a proportion of cases recover, albeit with devoted nursing over an extended period to keep them alive and to help them to pull through.

The disease is characterised by a paralysis of the entire digestive system. Even with homeopathic help, a good outcome is not assured.

If homeopathic help is wanted, we recommend that an experienced homeopathic veterinary surgeon should be consulted without delay, to work alongside your conventional veterinary surgeon.

*This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favourites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.


GREASY HEEL

See Mud Fever



GUTTURAL POUCH DISEASE

This is a dangerous condition, in which the diverticulum of the eustachian tube (called the guttural pouch) becomes infected, whether by bacteria or fungal infection (mycosis).

Guttural pouch disease can be extremely challenging to treat but we believe that homeopathy provides an added treatment option which can alter prognosis for the better.

*This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favourites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


HAEMATOMA

A haematoma is, literally, a collection of blood in the tissues (usually just under the skin). It occurs through the rupture of a blood vessel, possibly from direct trauma or from overexertion. A common site, in the racing Thoroughbred, is on the thigh, near the hip joint.

Homeopathic medicines such as Arnica, Hamamelis, Lachesis or Secale, prescribed according to the individual horse and circumstance, will usually bring about cessation of bleeding and may avoid the need for drainage of the haematoma, in a milder case.


HEAD SHAKING

HEAD-SHAKING – HEADSHAKING – HEADSHAKER

Head-shaking is the subject of a .pdf document (Headshaking).

The horse is seen shaking his head (or twitching his head) in the field or violently shaking and violently tossing his head especially when being worked.

A large proportion of head shaking cases thankfully appear to respond to the combined and integrated acupuncture, homeopathy and chiropractic approach, along with holistic attention to diet and feeding.

In addition to acupuncture and homeopathy for head shaking horses, we use massage and acupressure techniques to drain fluid from the congested sinuses.

Pictures show a horse patient undergoing acupuncture for a head shaking problem – note placid acceptance of needles and drowsiness.

Having found out about a mail-order homeopathic medicine (strangely described as ‘non-medical’ and with no details of ingredients) for headshaking, I have to express my surprise about the near-promise of success and the $400 price tag. Marketing never ceases to amaze me and ‘owners’ of headshaking horses may represent a vulnerable and sometimes desperate market sector. The price is outrageous. This smacks to me of cynical exploitation of a very unfortunate situation.

For your interest, we have a link to an article on Squidoo: Headshaking


HEAVES

Heaves is the subject of a .pdf document (click) (also known as RAO or COPD)

See also: COPD


HOOF QUALITY

See also: Hoof Care (page dedicated to this important topic)

Poor hoof quality (e.g. slow re-growth, crumbling, cracking or distortion) is usually of dietary origin. It can also arise from damage to the coronary band or from immune damage.

We cooperate with a farrier’s efforts to help the foot. We treat the underlying condition with homeopathic medication, of a constitutional nature (suited to the individual horse) and we take pains to ensure a good natural diet, free from manufactured ingredients. We usually formulate a herbal supplement, to be compatible with both the diet and the homeopathic treatment, to provide essential nutrients in a way compatible with a horse’s metabolism. We avoid the use of animal-derived protein supplements (e.g. Gelatin). Expensive specialist supplements for hoof health are rarely necessary.


HORMONAL PROBLEMS

Hormonal problems present a complex field, usually involving a mare, who has recurrent or perpetual seasons, too much ‘seasonal’ behaviour or erratic and unmanageable behaviour, especially when being saddled or ridden.

Such problems may arise from a cystic ovary but this is often not found in such mares. Hormone injections are often used, to achieve better behaviour but there is a risk of causing further hormonal imbalance thereby.

Homeopathy, in the form of homeopathic constitutional prescribing, along with a more locally-targeted remedy, based on the result of rectal examination of the ovaries, may succeed in achieving a result or, at least, removing the worst excesses of the problem. This is not, however, a foregone conclusion.

Geldings may also suffer hormonal problems, even to the extent of them giving the impression of a ‘rig’. We have never been asked to treat such problems, so cannot give a summary of experiences.


INFERTILITY

There is very little to be said about infertility, other than to emphasise the importance of a natural and wholesome diet, free from manufactured ingredients. Grazing land and hay ground should not be fertilised. Provided that the diet is sufficient, species-suitable and of correct quality and provided that the mare is managed in as stress-free a way as possible, her natural breeding force will tend to produce the required results. If not, homeopathy in the form of constitutional homeopathic prescribing, along with a tailor-made herbal supplement, will usually do the trick. Nature has a tendency to reproduce; all that is usually necessary is to remove the obstacles and give the system homeopathic stimulus.

The same comments apply to stallions. We have successfully treated stallions for abnormal sperm, sperm motility problems, fertility etc.


INFLUENZA

Equine Influenza

Equine Influenza is a viral disease, which appears to be specific to equine animals (i.e. it is not known to cross the ‘species barrier’). It is much-feared, giving rise to compulsory vaccination regimes for various forms of sporting competition and for some yards. It is highly infectious but, usually, not too severe. British Dressage dropped the requirement for its competitions, without any apparent welfare cost.

Homeopathic constitutional prescribing will usually help a horse to throw off the infection and prevent the worst symptoms from developing.

There is a vaccine available, commonly considered compulsory. In common with all forms of conventional vaccination, there are dangers associated with the administration. Some horses react locally, with very painful and inflamed muscles or abscess. Some react more systemically, becoming ill. Others can become chronically ill or have an underlying health problem exacerbated.

There is a homeopathic nosode to offer protection to those horses for whom vaccination is considered unsuitable or is not wanted. It is however without full proof of efficacy. The nosode does not satisfy legal or sporting regulations.

Conventional vaccinations should not be given to horses suffering an illness, especially if there is an immune component to that illness (this is in fact an exclusion on the Data Sheet of vaccine products).


INJURY

see also: wounds

The innate healing capacity of the horse is a source of constant surprise. The result is that most wounds and injuries, despite often looking horrific and disastrous at the outset, will tend to heal. There is a range of homeopathic first-aid and herbal first-aid medicines, to suit most types of injury. LASER therapy can be of inestimable value in the treatment of tendon or ligament damage and as an aid to healing of surface wounds. We find that regular LASER sessions, at the correct frequency and wavelength for the injury and the patient, will hasten and increase the quality of healing.

We rarely advocate box rest, since it is an unnatural imposition on a creature that survives by movement, which, in moderation, can act as a stimulus to healing. Box rest is only of benefit in very special cases. A barn or covered yard may be very useful, if restricted movement is required.

A good natural diet is important, as in most situations where optimal healing is required.

See also: Proud Flesh, Treating Injury Naturally.pdf


JOINT ILL

Joint ill is the common name for purulent infection in the joints. It usually occurs in the newborn, as a result of infection of the umbilical cord soon after birth. Clearly, hygiene where a foaling takes place is of paramount importance in prevention.

Antibiotics can fail to treat this problem, owing to the build up of pus in the joint and owing to difficulties in achieving high enough antibiotic concentrations in the joint cavity.

Happily, especially if a case is caught early enough or is not too severe, homeopathic medicines can provide the necessary stimulus to the body’s own immune capability, achieving a good result in most cases. Hepar sulphuris, with or without or a specific Nosode, may be the correct prescription, depending upon signs and symptoms. Even extreme cases have responded but the good results are not so easy.


KISSING SPINES

Kissing Spines is the subject of a .pdf document (Kissing Spines).

This is an degenerative or osteoarthritic-type disease process involving the vertebral spines in the region of the back immediately behind the wither. The condition was first described by Professor Jeffcott in Cambridge.

There is a distinct possibility that saddling problems could lead to this condition.

We hope to avert the need for surgery, using an integrated holistic approach, including homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic and diet.


KLEBSIELLOSIS

While no promises can be made in medicine, we expect to be able to help horses recover from Klebsiellosis, using homeopathic methods. The disease is associated with Klebsiella infection (bacterial).

This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favourites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


LAMENESS

Lameness is identified by the nodding of the head or by uneven movement of the hind quarters, at the trot. At the trot, a lame horse will raise his head as the affected front limb strikes the ground. If the lameness is in a hind limb, the horse will tend to ‘hop’ on the affected limb (this is different from the unevenness in action shown by a horse with a misaligned pelvis – .pdf file). A horse can show different lameness on right rein or left rein. This helps in diagnosis. Lameness can arise from any condition which causes pain in one (or more) limb(s).

At the AVMC, we use a logical approach to horse lameness. We ensure that the foot does not have an abscess, which is the most common cause of lameness in horses. We check for laminitis and eliminate it from the scene. We give foot, joints, leg and whole body a thorough examination, checking for muscle tension and any need for chiropractic work. In particular, misalignment of lumbar vertebrae (hind limb) or the lower neck (fore limb) may cause quite pronounced and difficult-to-diagnose lameness. We perform any necessary manipulation. Because it can be part of the symptom picture, we have to consider Lyme disease (Borreliosis) in any case of vague lameness with malaise and in an area of the UK where ticks are prevalent.

If lameness is found to be due to any pathology, we then set about trying to heal that pathology, using acupuncture, homeopathy, herbs and diet work.

If incorrect movement appears to be a causal or contributory factor, back work, foot balance and saddling investigations are vital components of our work in assessing and helping equine lameness. If these are not optimised, no amount of good medicine will heal the problem.

Navicular disease, DJD, OCD, sprains, strains, pedal ostitis, ringbone, sidebone, muscle injuries, shoulder damage, spavins, arthritis and many other causes are treated by the same attention to detail.

Reference to the particular pages on this site will give an idea of expectancy of success, using natural therapy.

The story of Garrison Savannah, of 1991 Cheltenham Gold Cup fame, is touched briefly at: Testimonials.


LAMINITIS (FOUNDER)

Laminitis usually responds well to homeopathy, with acupuncture also proving necessary in some cases. Herbs can provide useful ancillary support and help with pain control.

Laminitis is a formidable disease and it appears that, once affected, ponies become more susceptible thereafter. Treatment of these cases using conventional NSAID drugs can relieve pain (which might be very welcome) but one has to be aware that this can be at the cost of suppression of healing mechanisms and responses. NSAIDs certainly do nothing beneficial for the disease itself. They may also impede homeopathic responses to an extent. However, if a patient is on NSAID treatment at the time we become involved, we do not suggest stopping it unless of course it is failing to help the pain.

The pdf. articles linked above will describe the disease and its treatment in more detail. It is worth noting here that we have been fortunate to see a majority of cases treated by natural/holistic methods come to a good conclusion, despite often being very refractory and long-term cases.

Some cases that we have seen appear to have been triggered by the unscientific practice of giving a double booster vaccination course, given because of lapsed annual booster vaccination.

Severe and sometimes intractable laminitis can be accidentally induced as a side effect of injection with steroid (corticosteroid, cortisone), an example of iatrogenic disease. This is called ‘steroid-induced laminitis’, ‘cortisone-induced laminitis’ or ‘corticosteroid-induced laminitis’. This very distressing and sometimes fatal condition has been recognised at least since 1980 and is entirely avoidable but, regrettably, cases still occur. Holistic treatment for this is best started from the outset. We often see cases that are months down the line and much less likely to be saved.

N.B.: If your horse has suffered this reaction, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate runs the SARSS Scheme, designed to receive and collate reports of suspected adverse events from medication. Please download a form and submit it, if you suspect an adverse reaction in your horse.

Apart from treating laminitis with homeopathy, acupuncture etc., we make dietary suggestions (natural feeding) and management suggestions, designed to restore a decent lifestyle as much as possible.


LIGAMENTS

Ligament injury

Horses can damage ligaments in their legs. The most common ones are the check ligament, the annular ligament and the collateral ligaments of the fetlock and hock. The condition is known as a sprain. The ‘suspensory’ is also a ligament. The same principles apply, wherever the ligament injury

It is important to check that predisposing factors are eliminated, at the outset of the healing process. Shoes can be removed, while the horse is not being worked. This ensures there is no adverse foot balance issue. Pelvic and spinal alignment must be checked at the outset and regularly during the healing phase. Pelvic and spinal misalignment may be a contributory factor in many cases of ligament injury. Most cases that the AVMC has attended show pelvic misalignment, which we correct immediately. Saddling must, of course, be optimal, once the horse is back in work, since uncomfortable saddling leads to wrong movement which puts undue strain on individual limbs.

Diet should be light, as befits a horse not in work and should be in accordance with the dietary advice given elsewhere on this site.

We do not advocate box rest. We have experienced extremely good healing in horses that are out at grass, among companions who are steady.

We apply regular LASER therapy, in the initial phase. This is a powerful stimulus to the healing of fibrous structures, such as tendons and ligaments.

We use homeopathic Ruta, as an important stimulus to the healing of tendon and ligamentar tissue. Other remedies may be necessary, according to both the particular injury and the particular horse’s symptoms.

The prognosis is usually good, at least for ordinary work. Some horses can even race again. The earlier this programme is started, after the injury, the better.

It has long been our belief that the results witnessed following Acupuncture and LASER treatment can best be explained by the stem cell phenomenon. There is a body of evidence developing which now lends support to the notion that LASER and Acupuncture can stimulate the mobilisation and activation of stem cells.


LIVER DISEASE

It is becoming increasingly common to find horses with liver damage. This is frequently not as serious as might be supposed, if holistic medicine (particularly homeopathy and herbs) is available. It is not clear whether the increased frequency of diagnosis reflects more frequent blood sampling of horses or a real increase in the problem. The condition can predispose to laminitis and photosensitisation. It can also be a concomitant of Cushings Disease.

There are many different potential causes of liver disease. The most common are: poisonous plants (e.g. Ragwort or St John’s Wort), chemicals (e.g. Creosote), herbicides (even so-called ‘livestock safe’ ones have caused problems, when horses have eaten sprayed nettles), viruses, moulds in spoilt food, copper toxicity, drugs (e.g. steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), overeating of concentrate food and unsuitable diets. Recently fertilised grass may also be a hazard for the liver and is especially dangerous in a horse with an impaired liver.

Confirmation of diagnosis (and subsequent monitoring) is usually by blood test.

Homeopathy and diet are important. Common homeopathic medicines, that are known to help the liver, depending upon signs, symptoms and circumstances are: Berberis, Carduus, Chelidonium, Cuprum, Flor de Piedra, Lycopodium, Nux vomica, Phosphorus and Senecio.


LYMPHANGITIS

In our experience, homeopathic treatment of lymphangitis is usually followed by successful resolution. However, because of its potential severity, we advise calling in a qualified and experienced homeopathic vet.

The condition is usually characterised by sudden swelling of one or other hind limb, as a result of involvement of the lymph vessels of the limb in infection or other inflammation. The swelling may extend as far as the udder or sheath or even the ventral belly in extreme cases. It can be very painful.

*This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favourites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


MASTITIS

Mastitis is usually a physiological problem, in the mare, as opposed to infections (such as in cattle). Because it is a potentially dangerous condition, it requires prompt and expert homeopathic help, which is usually successful. We advise calling in a qualified homeopathic vet.


MELANOMA

Homeopathic intervention appears to have arrested some cases of melanoma and been accompanied by reduction in size of the growths in some others. However, it is a dangerous disease, usually of grey horses (aka ‘greys disease’).

*This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favourites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


MOONBLINDNESS – MOON BLINDNESS

moon blindness, ERU, equine recurrent uveitis, recurrent ophthalmia, recurrent uveitis, periodic ophthalmia

Moonblindness or ERU is the subject of a .pdf document (Moonblindness). It is thought possibly to be an autoimmune-type disease. Leptospiral infection has also been proposed and may play a part in some cases. Whatever the cause, effective treatment is required as a matter of urgency.

Most cases of moonblindness (aka moonblindness, ERU, equine recurrent uveitis, recurrent ophthalmia, recurrent uveitis, periodic ophthalmia) appear to respond very well to integrated acupuncture and homeopathy. Generally, a course of three treatments seems to be the norm to settle the current attack, with repeat acupuncture being promptly provided in the event of a further attack.

In a typical case, we have seen attacks or episodes becoming progressively less frequent and less severe, until they usually subside or cease entirely. This is one of the more surprising conditions in which success can usually be expected, especially in view of the very poor outlook in conventional terms.

Despite this optimistic report it must be said that we have observed that if the inflammation has been repeatedly suppressed with steroids for so long that cataract has started, the eye may be doomed*. It then becomes doubly important to save the other eye. We are unable to recommend treatment with steroids (aka cortisone or corticosteroids). While temporary relief may follow their use, longer-term implications are not attractive. Similar caution applies to the use of NSAID drugs.

Appaloosa horses** appear to have an inherent susceptibility to the condition and we advocate regular eye checks for these horses, since the condition may otherwise go unnoticed for some time.

Vaccination is of concern. We have seen a significant proportion of cases start to show symptoms soon after vaccination but especially after restarting a course of vaccine as a result of missing the annual booster date. This coincidence in timing does not prove ’cause and effect’ but it gives great concern. Certainly, no science supports the practice of restarting a course of vaccine when annual boosters may have lapsed and we consider this to be a risky practice.

There follow extracts from two successive emails from a client with an Appaloosa** with this disease (first holistic treatment 13th March 2012). At the time of examination, despite steroid drugs and NSAIDs, Luke was screwing up his eyes so that examination was nearly impossible but, when the acupuncture needles were inserted, he opened his eyes wide.

The day after his first acupuncture treatment: “Thank you for coming to see Luke yesterday. I was very happy with the results of your acupuncture treatment! His eyes are still nicely open.”

The day after he started on his internal medication (homeopathic): “Luke started on his medicine straight away, last evening. I am giving him 6 drops on a tiny square of bread, twice a day. Today his eyes looked better than they have since the beginning of the year, open, alert, and much less weeping and discharge. It’s really good to see him – he seems much more lively and am sure he’s feeling better – and so I feel much better too!”

*Removal of the eye has become necessary in those cases that have been given repeated steroid (cortisone) suppression until having reached the stage of advanced cataract, as it appears that we cannot help with natural medicine, once pathology has become that advanced.

**Appaloosas appear to have a special susceptibility to this condition and we recommend regular eye checks for them, to try to prevent missing early signs.

N.B.: Based upon our experience, we cannot advise the use of steroids, NSAIDs, MSM or Cyclosporine for this condition. Subsequent treatment with natural medicine becomes more difficult after such drugs and repeated suppression of the inflammation leads to ever-deepening pathology.

N.B.: In the absence of proper research to counter this belief, we advise that horses that suffer this disease should never be revaccinated. It is even possible that repeated vaccination may be one of the triggers for this disease, especially if a course of vaccine is restarted because of a lapsed booster. Anyway, the Data Sheets for vaccine products state that only healthy horses should be vaccinated. I am willing to discuss the implications of this advice.


MUD FEVER – GREASY HEEL – HEEL DERMATITIS – CRACKED HEELS

This is commonly a troublesome condition but one that usually responds well to homeopathy, both in terms of treatment of the problem at all stages and in prevention of recurrence. It is characterised by inflamed, swollen skin, usually at the rear of the pasterns, of any or all of the four feet of the horse. Cracks may appear, which can be quite deep in bad cases. Acute or chronic lameness can ensue. Some particularly bad cases to which the AVMC has been called have been in trouble for months or even years.

The condition has been called ‘mud fever’, since some cases appear to be exacerbated or arise during wet or muddy conditions. These factors are not vital ingredients, however. We have seen cases in dry summer conditions. Some cases occur only on the white parts of the lower limb. In these, a degree of photosensitisation is likely. The organism Dermatophilus can sometimes be involved.

Homeopathic treatment consists of constitutional prescribing (i.e. according to the overall picture presented by the patient), with a ‘locally’ indicated remedy in addition, in some cases. At the AVMC, we also have a specially-formulated ointment and a nosode, for use in relevant cases. Since the disease is both complex and troublesome, it is recommended that expert veterinary homeopathic help should be sought.

Treatment with steroid creams, steroid injections and courses of topical or internal antibiotics are not recommended, since they can temporarily suppress the external signs, giving the impression of a beneficial result, while the disease is really exacerbated and signs/symptoms usually return with increased vigour when the treatment ceases. Each time this happens, the disease becomes more stubborn to treat.

We also consider diet to be important.


NAVEL ILL

Navel ill is the common name for purulent infection in the umbilical region. It usually occurs in the newborn, as a result of infection of the umbilical cord soon after birth. Clearly, hygiene where a foaling takes place is of paramount importance in prevention.

Antibiotics can fail to treat this problem, owing to the build up of pus and owing to difficulties in achieving high enough antibiotic concentrations in the abscess.

Happily, especially if a case is caught early enough or is not too severe, homeopathic remedies can provide the necessary stimulus to the body’s own immune capability, achieving a good result in most cases. Hepar sulphuris, with or without or a specific Nosode, may be the correct prescription, depending upon signs and symptoms (homeopathy).


NAVICULAR DISEASE – NAVICULAR SYNDROME

Homeopathy and acupuncture have proved very valuable in the treatment of navicular disease, along with chiropractic manipulation, holistic diet, saddling and shoeing input. We have seen a high percentage of cases recover and return to riding or even full work, following treatment.

Early signs of navicular disease are: stumbling, a vague and intermittent lameness, shifting the weight off the heel and ‘pointing’ the foot. No amount of good medicine will sort the problem if foot balance is not 100%. Even when the condition has been resolved, the horse will be extremely sensitive to foot balance, so this is an ongoing commitment. Doing away with shoes has been very helpful for a number of cases.


NODULAR SKIN DISEASE

Collagen necrosis

The term ‘nodular skin disease’ (or ‘Collagen Necrosis’) covers nodular lesions in the skin (often particularly under the saddle area) that have variously been described as blocked sweat glands or as parasitic, bacterial or auto-immune in origin. At the AVMC we have seen many cases over the years, often after extensive diagnostic and therapeutic efforts have failed to produce any clarification or result. The lesions generally respond very well to homeopathic medication, selected according to constitutional indications and the unique circumstances of each individual case. We have often found saddling faults in such cases, which may or may not be partially responsible for triggering the problem.

In homeopathic terms, a constitutional tendency to nodule formation is an expression of the ‘sycotic’ miasm.


OCD

OCD is an acronym which stands for Osteochondritis Dissecans, usually applying to the end of long bones near knees, hocks, shoulders, hips or stifles. Abnormal cavities can appear in the bone and both bone (on X-Ray) and cartilage can become damaged or cease to regenerate normally. It appears to be a development problem, possibly occurring as a result of accelerated growth rate (ahead of development), owing to incorrect feeding.

Homeopathy is usually well able to provide a solution, in the longer term, accompanied by a healthy diet and by an appropriate exercise programme. A prescription would usually include a remedy to suit the lameness and its individual characteristics, plus one of the Calcarea derivative remedies, suited to the horse’s constitution.

Acupuncture may be useful in the early phase of treatment, not least to help to control pain. The nutritional and medicinal value of herbs can also benefit.


OSTEOMYELITIS

Osteomyelitis is a deep infection (bacterial or fungal) in bone. It is very resistant to treatment with antibiotics. It is possible that it is difficult to achieve sufficient levels of antibiotics in such tissues. Osteomyelitis occurs from injury, surgery or blood-borne infection. The most common source of infection is an open fracture or gunshot wound. It is a potentially very dangerous condition and can threaten a limb or even life itself.

Homeopathy and Osteomyelitis

We have treated many cases of osteomyelitis over the years and the vast majority have recovered, coincidental with homeopathic treatment.