Allergies are a common complaint, especially during the warmer months. The typical treatment involves antihistamines or steroids. And these drugs often give good results. In fact, I would likely do the same for my horses if they were suffering. Allergies are miserable! Coughing, runny eyes and nose, incessant itching – the torment is tough to watch, and you want a solution, fast!
But these drugs do not cure anything. They simply help the symptoms. Why not, instead, try to improve the diet so your horse’s allergies subside – perhaps at first, in addition to the medications you are using. Over time, your horse may respond so favorably, that drugs are no longer needed!
It often has to do with the constant bombardment of chemicals that impair immune function, along with missing nutrients, such as essential fatty acids and vitamin D, which leave the immune system too weak to fight off the allergens from the environment, insects, and even feedstuffs.
This can be accomplished by feeding key nutrients and specific herbal preparations. In my reference book, Feed Your Horse Like a Horse[i], I have a section on “Dr. Getty’s Fighting Formula,”[ii] which includes antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium, beta carotene (as vitamin A) as well a vitamin D, the B vitamins, and prebiotics. Choosing a vitamin/mineral supplement that provides these nutrients offers a good foundation.[iii] Though not mentioned specifically in this book, offering colostrum is a state-of-the art addition to the diet to protect and balance immune function.[iv]
You may wish to consult with a practicing herbalist to get a complete list of relevant herbs, or consider formulas that contain some of the following:
There is no substitute for a wholesome, nutritious diet. While pharmaceuticals may have their place in extreme allergic reactions, choosing natural remedies will not only relieve symptoms but they will help the body heal.
[vii] Kellon, E., 2006. Use of the herb Gynostemma pentaphyllum and the blue-green algae Spirulina platensis in horses. Third European Equine Nutrition and Health Congress, Gent, Belgium, March.
[viii] Kellon, E., 2006. Use of the herb Gynostemma pentaphyllum and the blue-green algae Spirulina platensis in horses. Third European Equine Nutrition and Health Congress, Gent, Belgium, March.
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