It has been many, many years since I have needed to treat a horse for scratches so I went online to find the best treatment, natural if possible. I was amazed at all the different options and concoctions that people have used to treat scratches. We experimented with Vitamin E oil, pure Aloe Vera, pure Silver Spray, and even pure Coconut Oil before figuring out a system that cleared his scratches up within a week. I wanted to share this with you in case you are looking for a natural alternative to the harsh creams and sprays.Read More
I wanted to share a wonderful product that I have been giving Douwe to help with his kidney issues. When I discovered that Douwe was experiencing discomfort related to his kidneys, I went searching online for supplements that might help with detox and kidney support. I was fortunate to find Silver Lining Herbs and their Kidney Support #37 supplement. This company produces high quality herbal supplements with years of experience and a long list of veterinarian recommendations. Here is the product description from the website:
Kidneys are another area where today's horses are put under extreme stress with a chemical environment. The kidneys primary function is to cleanse the blood and produce urine, which excrete wastes; due to the critical and body-encompassing nature of this job, improvement in kidney function will help restore and relieve a wide range of systems and symptoms. #37 Kidney Support helps maintain optimal kidney function, and may be beneficial in:
- General bladder and kidney issues
- Bone issues, such as calcium deposits, spurs, navicular etc
- Behavior issues such as general crankiness, poor haulers, general discomfort
- Performance issues such as avoiding hard stops and turns
- Fluid retention, "stocking up" in lower legs
- Looking at sides, abnormally frequent lying down, acting colicky but won't roll
- Mineral buildup in kidneys
- Muscle degeneration
- Soreness in back, joints or feet, or tight muscles
- Tendon, ligament or joint issues
- Toe pointing
- Won't relax, especially while being ridden
Active Ingredients: A proprietary blend of Marshmallow, Uva Ursi, Barberry, Garlic, Kelp, Parsley, Dandelion, Chamomile, Hydrangea and Juniper.
I bought the 60 day supply bag and am currently going through bag #2. Douwe's second saliva test showed that his kidneys are healing and that he is not experiencing discomfort anymore. When I contacted the company they recommended 1-2 bags but said that most horses do not need to stay on the supplement, it is meant to detox and heal the kidneys but isn't always needed once the process is complete. I have definitely noticed a big difference in Douwe's attitude and how he feels under saddle. I highly recommend this company and specifically this product.
October of 2013 my Friesian gelding, Douwe, colicked and I frantically tried to figure out the cause. He was eating fine, he looked great health-wise, but he hadn't been feeling good under saddle. We had been training for an independent film that we shot at the end of September (2013) that involved cantering up hills and through fields. Not particularly difficult training, but I learned he was dealing with pain in his kidneys so the exercise and anticipation caused an ulcer. He had been feeling slightly off in his right hind, nothing that I would consider lame but something I noticed. I thought he might need a chiropractor because his hips do tend to go out sometimes. I learned that lameness in the right hind can come from a stomach ulcer because the pain will be more towards the right side. I have learned a lot about ulcers, because Douwe did not show typical symptoms and he stoic and hard to read, like many Friesians. People have asked me what I have done to treat him and I wanted to share some products and resources that might be helpful.
I didn't want to trailer Douwe to a vet clinic to be scoped because that would require a long trailer ride, which would cause him more stress. The downside was that my equine insurance wouldn't cover the cost of treatment if he wasn't scoped.
I was able to get confirmation with a saliva test (Computer Electrodermal Screening) and his blood test also showed signs of a stomach ulcer.
Slight lameness in the right hind.
Difficulty going forward and bending.
Poor performance and a depressed attitude.
He did not show some of the classic signs, which include: girthiness, finicky eating or not eating, poor coat or weight loss.
I changed his diet and put him on Omeprazole. After three days of GastroGard my vet recommended trying the less expensive version of Omeprazole and using that for the rest of the month. The first day I gave him the "cheaper" version he became very bloated and I knew he was in distress. I stayed with him all afternoon and watched him closely. I did not give him any more of the Omeprazole.
I tried Ranitidine, which is another ulcer medication. It is less expensive, but you need to give the pills 2-3 times a day in the feed instead of a paste that lasts 24 hours. Douwe seemed to respond well to it and I treated him for 6 weeks, tapering him off at the end. I had him re-tested recently at the end of March and it showed that his stomach ulcer and kidneys were almost healed and that he did not need any more medication!
Natural Treatments & Supplements:
Here are a few products I used in addition to the Ranitidine.
- Aloe Vera Juice- 1 cup a day from November to February. This was recommended by my chiropractor/vet and she said it helps to calm the stomach. I bought jugs of it at my local health food store but you can also get it at Walmart or a local pharmacy.
- SmartGut Ultra- started in November and will stay on this supplement from SmartPak. I really like this supplement because it has everything recommended in it. You can read the list of ingredients and purchase it here...https://www.smartpakequine.com/smartgut-ultra-pellets--10990p
- Raw Pumpkin Seeds- one handful each day from November to January. I really liked giving him these but they were a little expensive to get from the health food store.
- Oat Flour- 1/2 cup a day from November to March. Oat flour is very good for the horse's hind gut in case they have an ulcer there instead of the stomach. I purchased this at the local health food store.
- Alfalfa Pellets- I feed him the pellets instead of grain. I took him off the organic oats I was feeding him and replaced it with the pellets. I also gave him 2 cups of pellets before I rode him to make sure his stomach had food in it to keep the stomach acids from splashing around, which can cause an ulcer.
- Beet Pulp- We soak beet pulp pellets overnight to feed morning and night. The beet pulp works great in the winter to give them extra water and to mix in the supplements.
- ProBios- I had him on the extra probiotics while he was getting the medications. You can purchase ProBios at Tractor Supply or any tack store. Good for any horse to help digestion.
What experiences have you had with ulcers? How did you treat them? Please leave a comment below and feel free to share this post!
I started feeding my horse Douwe an organic grain because of all the warnings I have heard about commercial horse grains and genetically modified corn. When I was at the Equine Affaire I met Liz Norfleet who was a distributor for Genesis Organic Grain made in Canada. She gave me information and samples to take home with me. I was very excited because I had not found an organic horse grain on the market. I am very happy to say that the tack store closest to me, Katahdin Trail Saddlery, is now carrying this grain at their location in Newport, ME. You can contact them at 207-368-5599 to order.
Reasons to go organic:
(taken from the Triple N Equine website)
- WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION... Foods in their natural form are the richest source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, phyto- nutrients, 'live' enzymes, 'good' bacteria, and antioxidants.
- 100% USDACERTIFIED ORGANIC... A rigorous approach to quality... GENESIS is free of toxic chemicals that are proven to cause harm to animals. Consistent... No hidden ingredients - critical to a horse's fragile digestive system.
- HIGHLY EFFICIENT... FEED LESS GRAIN...Est. Digestible Energy is 3200 kcal/kg vs conventional at approx. 2400 kcal/kg. So higher calorie count, less grain!
- NUTRIENT DENSE... FEED LESS GRAIN...Whole food is more nutrient rich than processed food. There is much better absorption of nutrients as there are no fillers or chemicals. There is an increased therapeutic effect from much smaller quantities of nutrients in whole food nutrition vs. processed foods.
- HUMAN GRADE INGREDIENTS...The highest-quality ingredients available...WHOLE OATS (low lignin for easier digestibility), BARLEY, PEAS, FLAX SEED & FLAX MEAL. The perfect balance of high-quality carbs, protein & fat.
- LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX for Healthy Blood Sugar
- STAGED RELEASE OF ENERGY for longer duration. Oats, Barley, Peas...high-quality carbs, different rates of digestion. All contain resistant starch which acts very much like a fiber and helps maintain healthy blood sugar.
- BETTER IMMUNE SYSTEM, LESS ALLERGIES, LESS DISEASE. REDUCE THE RISK OF COLIC AND CHRONIC DISEASE.
- SYNERGY...There is a synergy between the substances found in whole foods that provide a dynamic physiological response!