Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"A Horse’s Healthy Immune System"

Howdy Friends,

All things for a horse are better with an immune system firing on all cylinders. Protecting our horse’s healthy immune system is one of the most important things we can, and indeed should, do in my opinion. The thoughts I’m about to share are mine, you may take them into account or disregard.
Kessy taking in the sun on a chilly winter morning
Recently while working with a client and her horse we began discussing immune health and skin issues. I believe rain rot, inside ear rash, scratches and even thrush are signs of a weakened immune system. I also believe they must be most effectively cured from the “inside out.” I subscribe to the theory that topical treatments treat the symptom, not the root cause. Less than glowing, shining coat and any skin condition always, for me, points to the immune system. I think of it as the earliest warning sign, and if not heeded many things can go wrong leading to more significant disorders.

What can we do to be sure our horses have the most powerful immune system possible? There are many products available; supplements, vitamins, herbs, immune boosters. For a long time I researched many, and indeed used many different approaches. Thanks to the blessing of being allowed to write for “Natural Horse Magazine,” I’ve had the honor and privilege of interviewing some of this country’s most knowledgeable and respected holistic doctors and veterinarians, animal health care providers, herbalists, acupuncture practitioners, trainers and more, and have learned so much I often joke I should pay Lisa Ross Williams, owner publisher, for the college education she’s provided me!

Among those I’ve met is Dr. Joseph Thomas, the world’s foremost Chinese Herbalist, and founder of “For Love of the Horse,” and like others I’ve written about we’ve become friends. Having been convinced that the best long term defense/maintenance for the battle against Lyme disease is in fact the horse’s own immune system, I have for several years been working to build my mare Kessy’s, as she has chronic Lyme and has ever since I’ve owned her.

I knew that Dr. Thomas had a proprietary blend of pharmaceutical grade herbs, Total Immune Health,” and I asked him about using it to help my mare. He assured me it would and explained his blend, after years of research, is designed to, and proven to, boost the immune system at its very core, in the bone marrow—which he has many times proven with before and after blood work showing the increased white blood cells. I put Kessy on it and indeed within the first week saw results, even though she had started at a good place.

I mentioned my client the other day that I do a Dr. Thomas treatment each spring getting ready for summer insects, ticks etc. She asked why only once a year and why not stay on it year-round.

I explained while I totally believe Dr. Thomas’ products are the very best available to us today, and indeed are scientifically backed up; they can only be part of the whole.

Management, I explained, plays a huge, perhaps the biggest role in protecting a horse’s immune system. Many, many things we do can help or detract from it. I truly believe that once a year is all my mare needs in that I am fanatical about not doing anything to lower, or stress her immune system throughout the year. Things to avoid (all things I'm about to list we now know, can indeed damage or confuse, or in some cases shut down immune operations) ... I don't re-vaccinate (immunologists have known sine the '70's once a lifetime is enough for everything except tetanus,) ... I don't use chemical wormer only herbal, I use no chemical fly sprays only natural (most fly sprays don't work very well anyway) ... I don't blanket (I know this one is confusing, but it matters) ... I don't stall ever ... I feed no grain, and I'm a barefoot practitioner. Now I understand some of these are difficult to agree with, believe, believe in, buy into, or even want to accept and I understand that... I understand peer pressure, habits, lifestyles etc, but there ya have it ... I was not always a believer either, but I've seen with my own experiences the truth behind the practices I try hard to promote, "It's for the Horses." ... We must always remember as well, horses have a strangely fragile immune system when it comes to man-made interference especially.

Gitty Up, Dutch Henry.