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08/18/13

  03:37:00 pm, by NHM   , 1225 words  
Categories: Uncategorized

Help Your Horse with Relocation

Help Your Horse With Relocation

by Nayana Morag

By the time you are reading this I may well be in the sky with a small herd of horses (6 of them), flying across the Mediterranean to a new home. Like me, horses are nomadic creatures, so moving is part of their genetic/energetic heritage. But they weren't designed to fly in a plane, or to be dropped suddenly into a new environment, so we must adequately prepare them in order to keep them healthy.

Not all moves are so dramatic, but any move holds potential stresses and challenges to a horse's well-being. As long as it is culturally acceptable to sell a horse when he can no longer fulfil a human's expectations, most horses will change homes in their lifetimes. Sometimes it is necessary -or kinder - to re-home a horse, even if it breaks your heart.  Maybe a new horse will join your herd. There is no reason our horses should suffer from change if we pay attention to their needs during the transition.

Be prepared!

Early preparation is the key to a smooth move. Preparations will vary depending on the life experience and character of the horse, and how big a move he is making, but a few things are a must in any move.

Most obviously, make sure he is comfortable loading -; do not leave this until the last minute. Also, if he has not been in a trailer for a while, do a refresher to make sure he is still happy with the concept.

If your horse is not accustomed to riding in a trailer, take him for fun trips, even if it is only going around the block a couple of times and unloading him at home. Riding in a trailer is physically demanding for a horse and, like any other exercise, the more he does it the more he will develop the necessary skills and fitness.

If there are going to be major changes in management style at his new home, start to introduce them a week or so before travel to avoid mental or digestive upsets. This may not be possible if he is coming to you from far away, in which case you will need to make the changes at your end. Give pro-biotics to reduce the chance of ulcers, starting a few days before travelling, and continuing until things normalise at the other end.

One of the most common mistakes people make when moving a horse is to rush his integration into his new life. Even the most seasoned traveller needs a couple of weeks to settle and start sleeping properly as he gets accustomed to the sounds and habits of his new home; he may be more nervous or bad-tempered until then. I always allow at least a month before I expect a horse to be able to concentrate and learn anything new. For horses who have never moved before, or those with issues, it can take much longer. Use this time to build a strong bond from the ground by hanging out and establishing boundaries, and using appropriate essential oils (see NHM V14I3, An Aromatic Bond). I also like to show a new horse around the neighbourhood on leisurely in-hand walks as a way of building trust.

Essential oils

Essential oils can be helpful physically, emotionally, and mentally when relocating your horse. They can reduce mental stress, stimulate immune function, relax tired muscles, and help a horse bond with a new human. Following are essential oils I commonly use when relocating horses:

Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) gives a strong, rooted center when all around is moving, so it is ideal for any life changes, especially for those who act unsettled or fearful after a move. It is also a pulmonary disinfectant and a circulatory stimulant.

Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. bigarade) steadies the nerves, making it especially helpful for nervous travellers, or those who suffer from nervous anticipation. It is also indicated if the horse is leaving close companions. Neroli also settles nervous disturbances of the digestive tract.

Violet leaf (Viola odorata) is another oil that helps horses settle into a new environment and build trust in others. It is especially good for those of a suspicious nature and veterans. It has a very mild analgesic action, so it is good for relieving/preventing stiffness.

 

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) is the 'yin' companion to Cedarwood. It is especially beneficial for those who have withdrawn into themselves or become self-defensive after a move. Geranium gives a feeling of inner security and receptivity so that you can flow with the changes. It also supports genito-urinary function.

Lemon (Citrus limon) is a strong immune stimulant and anti-viral. It also helps the mind remain clear and assimilate new information. I recommend it be offered to any horse that is travelling.

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) deepens breathing and keeps the mind from worrying. This is one I use mostly if the traveller is fearful, feels claustrophobic, or is moving to a new home from a place where he has not been treated well.

Jasmine (Jasminum officinalis) helps settle hierarchical issues, especially for males. Offer it to those stressed by the introduction of a new horse to a herd, especially if the stress is expressed by bullying. It also helps horses who don't want to load.

Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) is another oil that is good for the lungs, (which in TCM relate to the function of letting go), it deepens breathing, and is anti-asthmatic. It is also euphoric, ideally offered when horses come off the trailer to soothe sore muscles and relax the mind.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is one you hopefully won't need, but if a horse becomes distressed for any reason, Valerian is a sedative that can take the edge off hysteria, and calm the most nervous behaviour. I never travel without it.

Personal kit to send with horse

Finally, if you are sending a horse to a new home, pack him three of his favourite oils and explain to his new owner how to offer them. In this way, your horse will be able to start training his new person in the art of listening as soon as he arrives; nothing will help him settle better.

While most of us would like to keep all our horses with us forever, circumstances or temperament may mean that it is in the best interest of a horse to move to another home. This is true even in the wild - mares move between stallion bands and bachelor colts get sent away from the family group - so horses are hard-wired to move on and adjust.  If we help them make the transition with thought and sensitivity, it can be a time of happy new beginnings for all.

 

 

About the author:

Nayana Morag, author of Essential Oils for Animals, is one of the world's foremost experts in the use of essential oils and aromatic extracts for animals. She has developed a system of animal wellness she calls Animal PsychAromatica, founded on the use of essential oils, understanding animal behaviour and the reduction of physical, environmental and psychological stress. Nayana also works with horses and owners to help them develop a positive, creative relationship based on trust and understanding. She teaches worldwide and also offers distance or on-site consultations, workshops and a professional standard Certificate in Animal PsychAromatica.

www.essentialanimals.com

E-mail: nayana@essentialanimals.com


 

08/12/13

  08:42:00 pm, by NHM   , 877 words  
Categories: Uncategorized

Senior Canine Comfort Care

 

Senior Canine Comfort Care

by Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis

Aging isn’t any kinder to dogs than it is to humans. Older dogs suffer from the aches and pains of osteoarthritis, worn joints, tendon problems, and a host of physical issues that hurt. These hurts lead to physical limitations, loss of vitality, and possibly a change in attitude.

Sheba at twelve years old still had the look of a regal Irish Setter. Her once rich, red, silky coat had dulled with gray. Still sleek and lean, her white face and telltale shorter gait was evidence that she was a healthy example of a senior-dog citizen. Sheba’s naps were getting longer and when getting up and getting going, she needed some coaxing.

Sheba still had the heart of a 5-year-old wanting to prance and dance on an outing. Her eyes would brighten at the mention of a walk. She wanted to run and play the way she did in her younger days. In reality she was no longer able to make her once graceful flying leap into the back seat of the car; she needed a boost. Her energy diminished after only 20 minutes of walking at a moderate pace.

Our senior canines want to do all the wonderful things they used to do. And we can help them do as much as they are able, so they can enjoy their golden years.

Canine Acupressure

The ancient eastern healing art of acupressure can offer our senior canines relief from the aches and pains of aging. Acupressure has been used to help animals for thousands of years. It has been clinically shown to:

- Strengthen the dog’s immune system

- Lubricate the joints to improve mobility

- Reduce inflammation associated with arthritis

- Enhance blood circulation for better overall functioning

- Release endorphins and natural cortisone to relieve pain and increase the dog’s comfort level.

An acupressure session with his favorite human goes a long way to having a healthy, happy older dog. Offering him acupressure two times a week will make both of you feel good – you’re helping him and he is feeling better.

Acupressure Points to Support Senior Canines

Acupressure has been proven to help relieve the pain and stiffness of arthritis as well as many other issues associated with aging. Here are acupressure points that are specifically selected to improve your dog’s mobility, digestion and absorption of nutrients, and general well-being. See Canine Comfort Care chart.

Stomach 36 (St 36) - the translation of its Chinese name is Leg Three Miles; it is used extensively to aid digestion and promote gastrointestinal health while also enhancing life-force energy. This acupressure point is known to enhance the animal’s activity level and assist in the absorption of nutrients.

Gall Bladder 34 (GB 34) - also known as Yang Mound Spring. This acupressure point has the attribute of influencing the strength and flexibility of tendons, ligaments, and joints. Additionally, it can reduce atrophy of the older dog’s soft tissues.

Kidney 3 (Ki 3) - traditionally called Great Stream, it brings forth the original essence and energy of the animal, which supports the dog’s basic constitution. This acupoint is often used to add essential energy during the winter phase of life.

Bai Hui, Heaven’s Gate - a classical point on the dog that is used for giving the dog a general sense of well-being – most dogs love it!

Acupressure Technique

Since the acupoints on the dog’s body are bilateral, hold the acupoints on both sides of your dog sequentially. There are two different finger techniques you can use: Thumb Technique is usually effective on the head, neck and trunk of the dog’s body and the Two-Finger Technique is best for the limbs.

- Thumb Technique: Place the tip of your thumb directly on the acupoint and hold the point gently, but with intent, for a slow count to at least 30. If your dog shows no reaction, you can hold the acupoint longer. Some dogs don’t demonstrate what they are feeling. After a reasonable amount of time, move on to the next acupoint.

- Two-Finger Technique: Place your middle finger on top of your index finger to form a little tent then place your index finger gently, yet with intentional firmness, directly on the acupoint for a slow count to 30, or longer if your dog shows no reaction. Move on to the next point even if your dog indicates a release of energy.

Please put your other hand on the dog as well, to feel for any reactions. You will know if the dog is moving his energy if he releases. Releases can include: yawning, licking, passing air, stretching, and showing signs of connecting to his energy.

By performing the “Senior Canine Comfort Care” acupressure session every three to four days, you will be contributing to your elder dog’s health and well-being for all his years – which could be many more.

About the authors:

Nancy Zidonis and Amy Snow are the authors of Acu-Dog: A Guide to Canine Acupressure, Equine Acupressure: A Working Manual, and, Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass offering books, manuals, DVDs, Apps, and meridian charts. Tallgrass also provides hands-on and online training courses worldwide including a 330-hour Practitioner Certification Program. Tallgrass is an approved school for the Dept. of Higher Education through the State of Colorado and an approved provider of NCBTMB CE’s. 

888-841-7211

08/05/13

  08:44:00 pm, by NHM   , 1565 words  
Categories: Uncategorized

Wild Horses- What Price Freedom?

 

What Price Freedom?

Saving the Pryor Forest Service Bands

by Ginger Kathrens

The 2009 helicopter roundup of the Pryor Wild Horses was a gut-wrenching event made even more nightmarish by the surprise actions of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) who announced they were going to permanently remove every wild horse from their home on Commissary Ridge in the Custer National Forest.[FOOTNOTE 1] Our pleas to allow 19-year-old Conquistador and 21-year-old Grumpy Grulla to go back together into the designated range fell on deaf ears. The BLM?s response was a curt ?no,? and the Forest Service said they did not have the authority to tell the BLM what to do.

The next day, four bands of wild horses, led by the stallions Conquistador, Bo, Shane, Trigger, and one bachelor stallion, Blue, were permanently removed from their home on Commissary Ridge atop the Pryor Mountains.

The Plan

We were confident that the young Commissary Ridge horses would be adopted. However, we feared that most - if not all - of the older horses would end up in feedlot style holding facilities and would eventually be shipped to long-term holding in Kansas or Oklahoma. The stallions would be gelded and sent to all-male holding facilities, while the mares would go to all-female facilities.

I had known most of these older horses for their entire lives and was determined to stop this from happening. We had three weeks to hatch a plan. Just days before the sale, local Montana wild horse admirers found land to lease - a ranch just north of the Pryors. Here, the older horses could live in freedom in their original family groups within the confines of an expansive fenced pasture. Here, they could experience what wild horses hold most dear - freedom and family. All went well? at first.

The following spring, our youngest band stallion, Shane, stole Bo?s band, running the older black stallion through a fence in the process. A tree fell over the ranch?s back fence line and, for a week, Chalupa, her foal, and Sierra were loose on the Crow Indian Reservation. We spent endless days and sleepless nights before we could herd them back into their pasture.  Then the owner of the ranch didn?t like stud piles in his driveway and evicted us. We moved to an even larger pasture with a creek and big cottonwoods just outside of Billings. Wonderful, right? Well, sort of.

Burrs from Hell

Before we could release Sierra, Chalupa, and Moshi into their new pasture we had to figure out how to remove the burdock they had gotten in their manes and tails at the old ranch. These giant burrs on steroids might infest their new home, but how were we going to get them out?

Luckily, we found a former trainer in Bridger who helped us sort the mares in one of our round corrals and load them into Effie Orser?s trailer (Effie is a terrific friend and a fabulous horsewoman). Sierra went first, calmly stepping into the trailer. Chalupa and Moshi followed her. We took the girls to the ?Horse Palace,? a place in Billings that had been located by Laura Pivonka, another terrific friend of the Freedom Family horses.

When we opened the trailer door, Sierra calmly led the mares out. All three walked quietly down a wide alleyway, took a right turn into the barn and, finally, into a narrower alley located next to the doors of three bucking chutes. From an attached, elevated walkway we reached down and began plucking burrs. No tranquilizers, no running horses, no whinnying. These three were so quiet it was almost spooky.

Upon completion, we opened the chute doors into the big arena. The girls trotted out and stopped, and we asked them to go back into the wide alleyway. Remember the scene in the movie Babe where the little pig talks kindly in ?sheep talk? to the ewes that walk calmly into the pen? Well, this was the scene. With quiet Sierra in the lead, the three walked slowly back down the wide alley and into the trailer. ?That?ll do, pig.?

Close Calls

All the horses were released onto the pasture outside Billings on a beautiful late afternoon in October 2010. On Bo?s release, Shane ran him through the fence but Bo wasn?t injured. Dodged another bullet, I thought.

Eventually, we had to remove Bo from the pasture before Shane, who continued to chase him dangerously close to cliffs and fences, killed him. Bo was gelded, expertly trained by Spencer Dominick of Wilsall, Montana, and is now owned by Effie, who can ride him bareback! Who says an old dog can?t learn new tricks?

Blue, our young bachelor stallion, who risked death or serious injury from unwisely challenging Conquistador, went to live on 25,000 acres of private land in 2010 and has become a proud band stallion and a new father this year.

During the winter of 2010-2011, Sierra began to limp and we noticed a small, innocuous-looking puncture wound on her front leg near the hoof.  It became infected and she had to go away for surgery. But, in true Sierra fashion, she weathered the storm and is as good as new. As you can imagine, Shane was extremely happy to have her back.

 In the spring of 2011, Moshi gave birth to Lily and Chalupa to BJ (Bo Junior - the son of Bo), both born into Shane?s band. Cavalitta gave birth to Augustina, a dun like her stunning father, Conquistador.  All was idyllic until late summer. That?s when Cavalitta began to rapidly lose weight for some mysterious reason. Conquistador and Augustina accompanied her to our vet, Lisa Jacobson?s, ranch, where Cavalitta could be treated and very slowly nursed back to health.

Back on the big ranch, little Lily, just 7 months of age, got porcupine quills in her nose in early November 2011. We took her and BJ (also 7 months old), to Spencer Dominick?s training facility where a vet could get the quills out. We took this opportunity to have Spencer halter train them as well.

When Lily and BJ returned to their parents, you would have thought we brought alien invaders to the pasture. Shane chased the two, nearly running them through the fence. Quickly, we opened the round pen and had no trouble getting Shane into an isolated section of the corral. The handsome dun is not only a mare pig, but also a pig-pig, easily lured with oats or horse candy or hay. In time we got everyone else into the big section of the corrals. We left the band overnight, hoping that the close proximity of BJ and Lily to their mothers would ?rebond them? and that Shane would accept them. The scheme worked, and when we let them out the next day there was no chasing. Gradually, their parents began to treat them as before. Phew!!

Another Move

This year we were evicted from this pasture so the owners could ?fill it up with cattle.? Again, we were fortunate to find a pasture, this time near Spencer and Lisa?s places. It has a view to die for. Three mountain ranges are visible from the new pasture - the Crazys, Bridgers, and Absarokees.

Many of you know we lost Conquistador, who died suddenly this summer, perhaps from a lightning strike. For the past three years we were able to preserve his freedom and his family. The light that went out of his eyes when he was captured in 2009 shone brightly up to the moment of his untimely death.

Just last week we visited our bands. Billy the Kid, our youngest, watched me fiddle around with the big can that holds oats and goodies near the water tank at the edge of his pasture. When he lost interest in me, he ambled back to his mother, Mae West. I watched them nibble each other affectionately and knew that, despite all the challenges, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Billy looked back at me when I closed the can. I wish for you Billy, what I wish for your relatives on the Pryor Mountains - freedom, precious freedom, and the company of a loving family for a lifetime.

SPECILA NOTE:  Not coincidentally, the lands upon which the Freedom Family wild horses roamed is a Forest Service cattle allotment where a single permittee runs about 100 head of yearlings for a couple of months. The cost to the permittee for this use of public lands? $270 for two months of grazing?10-20 times less than the cost of most leases on private land, and a money loser for the government and the American taxpayers. Livestock grazing on our public lands costs the taxpayers $121 million each and every year because the $1.35 per cow/calf pair per month is far too low to cover the cost of the administration of the permits. That?s why the practice is aptly dubbed ?welfare ranching.? For $270 in revenues each year, 30 wild horses lost their freedom. The majority of the BLM?s Wild Horse and Burro budget is spent on paying private contractors to hold once-wild horses.


About the author:

Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and Cloud Foundation Executive Director, Ginger Kathrens, has been documenting the Pryor herd since 1994, the year before Cloud was born. Her groundbreaking work in interpreting the complex world of wild horses has been compared to that of Jane Goodall?s study of Chimpanzees. Kathrens? books and films about Cloud and the Pryor Wild Horses are available for a donation to www.thecloudfoundation.org.

07/31/13

  09:35:00 pm, by NHM   , 632 words  
Categories: Uncategorized

EWA and ALC produce evidence showing GAO Horse Welfare report was fraudulent

July 31, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

John Holland, President, Equine Welfare Alliance

540.268.5693

john@equinewelfarealliance.org

 

Laura Allen, Executive Director, Animal Law Coalition

425.419.7301

lauraallen@animallawcoalition.com

 

 

EWA and ALC produce evidence showing GAO Horse Welfare report was fraudulent

 

EWA (Chicago) – The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and the Animal Law Coalition (ALC) announced today that they have irrefutable evidence showing that the Government Accountability Office fraudulently misrepresented horse abuse and neglect data in their report GAO 11-228.

The GAO report blamed falling horse prices and increased abuse and neglect on the closing of the domestic slaughter plants in 2007. Shortly after GAO issued the report, a conference committee reinstated funding for horse slaughter inspections, opening the way for slaughter to return to the US. Widely quoted in the media, the report is also provided as evidence in the lawsuit filed by Valley Meats against the USDA.

The EWA and ALC have provided both a video and a white paper showing how the fraud was committed. The ten minute video, How the GAO deceived Congress about horse slaughter was released on YouTube, and shows step by step how the GAO hid information in its possession showing abuse and neglect was in decline and misrepresented the data as showing it was increasing.

The fraud was discovered by the EWA while collecting data for equine abuse and neglect rates across the country. “We were looking for the correlation between various factors such as unemployment, slaughter and hay prices on a state by state basis,” explained EWA’s John Holland, “and when we looked at the Colorado data, we were reminded of its mention in the GAO report.”

The GAO claimed in the report to have contacted state veterinarians across the country and to have been told that abuse and neglect was increasing everywhere in the wake of the closing of the US plants in 2007. These were the same officials EWA contacted looking for states that kept records.

The EWA found data from six states; Oregon, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Georgia and Colorado. The records showed that abuse and neglect had been in decline between 2008 and 2010 (the last year of the GAO study), and that the GAO had used the wrong dates on the Colorado data to make it appear abuse had increased 60%.

“We had accepted that abuse was probably increasing as the result of the bad economy,” says Holland, “so imagine our surprise when we found it had been decreasing.” The EWA study finally showed the reason: drought. Drought and the subsequent increases in hay prices correlated tightly with the abuse and neglect numbers, and outweighed the influence of the recession and other factors.

“Not only did the GAO misrepresent the data, they completely missed the importance of hay prices and availability.” said Holland. The EWA filed a FOIA request for the data used by the GAO and the request was denied. The EWA also filed an IG complaint, and finally had a conference call with the GAO to request the report be withdrawn. The GAO refused any response except to say that their reports were flawlessly cross checked.

Victoria McCullough, owner of Chesapeake Petroleum and internationally known equestrian, said “Acceptance of lower standards results in failed policies and most significantly failures of public interest. Special Interest encroachment within Washington must not be allowed to erode public trust.”

- # -

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSxUPNgzgn4&feature=youtu.be

 

White Paper:

http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/How_the_GAO_Deceived_Congress-final.pdf

 

 

The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) is a dues-free 501c4, umbrella organization with over 300 member organizations and over 1,000 individual members worldwide in 21 countries. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids. www.equinewelfarealliance.org

 

 

The Animal Law Coalition (ALC) is a coalition of pet owners and rescuers, advocates, attorneys, law students, veterinarians, shelter workers, decision makers, and other citizens, that advocates for the rights of animals to live and live free of cruelty and neglect. www.animallawcoalition.com

 

 

07/23/13

  08:51:00 pm, by NHM   , 1231 words  
Categories: Uncategorized

RV's Journey with Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU)

 
 

Rv is a 21-year-old thoroughbred who was diagnosed with Equine Recurrent uveitis (ERU) 3 years ago.

We were in the midst of our showing career when he came in from the pasture with his first flare-up. When his left eye did not clear up and the swelling did not go down, I called my veterinarian. The vet treated him with topical ointments (steroidal, non-steroidal, atropine and antibiotics) and a systemic anti-inflammatory. Unfortunately, this would not be the last time RV would have what I called an “eye infection.”

RV started getting more frequent flare-ups that were getting harder and harder to treat. The vet started using internal steroids because RV was becoming immune to all the ointments in his eyes. At this point, I started doing some research on ERU since I had never heard of it before. I learned that the vet needed to come out every time RV had a flare-up to make sure the ERU was not in his cornea, because if the vet were to put him on steroids, it could blind him. I also learned that not many people were familiar with this disease and that there was no cure. The disease was starting to affect RV’s lifestyle – he could not be ridden when he was being treated, and if weather conditions were bad he had to stay in (wind, bugs, and hot weather trigger ERU flare-ups).

Just when I was starting to feel more educated about ERU, more aware of how this disease would affect RV, and more able to maintain his comfort, it started to affect his right eye. He came in with it swollen one day, but this time it was different. The right eye was much more swollen and was tearing non-stop! Unfortunately, RV had developed an ulcer that was bad enough to blind him for a short period of time. As if that was not enough bad news, he had also developed a cataract in the other eye (from the frequent flare-ups he had experienced), which caused him to lose his vision. I made arrangements for him to go to New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania the next day to see an ophthalmologist.

I remember how hard that day was; my poor horse could see pretty much nothing and had a really hard time getting in the trailer. It was an emotional roller coaster for the two of us! RV had an in-depth eye exam at New Bolton Center and the doctors informed me that the lens in his left eye had shifted – even if they were to remove his cataract, he would still not be able to see. Since the ulcer was so bad in his right eye, New Bolton Center put a catheter through his mane leading into the eye to allow them to treat it 6 times a day without aggravating it. RV came home with the catheter in and I continued to treat it for several weeks.

At this time I was already looking into getting RV medicine-releasing implants for both eyes. New Bolton had explained this procedure and felt he was a good candidate since his flare-ups were so frequent. The implants are designed to be inserted under the bone of the eye; they release medicine every so often to control ERU flare-ups. There was no question in my mind, if it would help make him more comfortable and reduce the vet calls, I was ready! RV was scheduled for surgery a few months later. The surgery went well; he was home in 3 days. When he came home, I noticed he was not eating and was not himself. I found out later that he had picked up a virus during his stay at New Bolton Center. Needless to say, he also developed an ERU flare-up with the virus (when a horse’s immunity goes down, ERU attacks).

The implants had not had a chance to work (because they take 6-8 weeks), and unfortunately RV was so immune to every other type of topical medicine that none of them were helping. After several weeks of the ERU not clearing up, my vet instructed me to take him off everything, to let the implants do their job. At this point, RV could only see light and shadows through his right eye and had no vision in the left; there was no guarantee he would not get any more flare-ups. I was not happy with these results and researched other methods. This is when I started using herbal treatments.

After speaking with many “herbal doctors” and researching the herbs, I put a plan together for RV. I found through research that, since he had been on so much medication the past year, detoxing his liver and kidneys of all the toxins before starting the herbs would help jumpstart the process. The detox was a two-week process and I started him on his herbal formula directly after. To date he is on three herbal support formulas (to enhance circulation, support the eyes, and boost immunity), which include hawthorne berry, buckwheat, nettle, willow, meadowsweet, rosehips, echinacea, eyebright, bilberry, ginkgo, garlic, rosehips, nettle, kelp, red clover, and pau de arco bark; vitamin C (to combat stress), and vitamin B12 (because ERU horses have a deficiency).

RV has been on the herbs since May of 2010 and has been flare-up free (let me remind you that before this he was having weekly flare-ups). He has not regained full sight in his right eye, however the ERU damage has gotten thinner and he can see more than just shadows and light. He has days where I swear he can see everything in front of him! RV can see some objects and the closer something is to him, the better. Sometimes he will do a double take at an object trying to make out what it is and I reassure him he will not be harmed. RV is back into a riding routine and goes out with a pony every day. I worked to get him into a routine so he knows his boundaries. I also watch the weather to make sure the conditions are appropriate for him to go out. The best advice I can give any horse caregiver/ handler is to be patient. It will take time for him to adjust. I spent a ton of time working with him when he was really sick; it was constant repetition until he was comfortable. I wanted to get him back to a normal life and wanted him to be happy.

I also wish I knew back then what I know now. I would have put RV on the herbs right away and perhaps gotten the implants earlier. He might still have his sight if I had. I share RV’s story to help/ educate other horse caregivers. My vet is very impressed and could not believe RV’s progress! Time is not on your side with ERU, and it will keep attacking if you do not get it under control – something I believe the herbs have done for RV! 

 

About the Author:

Jessica has been involved in the world of horses since she could walk as her parents own an established hunter/jumper facility in New Jersey.  Jessica has a background in marketing, advertising and public relations and now uses her background to communicate and educate horse owners on natural alternatives. She is also the Director of Media Relations for Natural Horse Magazine.

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