Hello -- I have a 30-year-old Clydesdale that was diagnosed with Lyme's disease this past October. He has rebounded very well, but has trouble getting up especially with Pennsylvania’s recent record cold temps.
He wears a foaling monitor so we know when he lies down, and we are always "on-call" to make sure that he's able to get up. He still gets up on his own -- but we have to make sure he doesn't struggle because he panics and then dehydrates, and his heart rate goes up -- all not good. Then his muscles get really tight for a few days -- so our goal is to make sure we are close to help him up when he needs it. He only lies down every 3 or 4 days.
We have done chiropractic, physical therapy, equine massage and acupuncture. And for the past five months he has been stable and is holding his own!! However, he takes high doses of Previcox and Banamine on a daily basis and I would like to try alternative medicine. I understand that Arnica, Hypericum, and Ruta would be good as well as Meadowsweet. Can you make recommendations as to where to purchase "horse" holistic/herbal remedies??
Best regards, Laurie Bianco
It sounds like you actually have a couple things going on. Lyme itself can cause weakness and lack of coordination, but also age. From a Chinese medicine perspective, as horses age, the Kidney acupuncture meridian becomes weaker. The Chinese “job” of the Kidney meridian is to help take care of the rear end (lumbar area, stifles and hips). The Liver meridian helps take care of the tendons and ligaments. Lyme hits the Liver meridian hardest, but also affects the Kidney meridian (bones, joints and the rear end).
Many of these old guys need not only support for the Lyme, but also a lot of herbal support to get energy going to the rear end so it is strong enough to withstand the cold. A few simple herbs can be used, such as Ginger (1/2 to 1 tablespoon of the powdered ginger in your kitchen) given twice a day can help warm him up and take away some of the arthritis pain. The homeopathic remedies you mention can be helpful, but are not targeted really for Lyme or an old horse who is weak behind.
Working up a program for a horse like him can best be done with a consult with a holistic vet (I do offer that as a service, if you call the number below). You do not want to overload his body with supplements, because he is not strong, but you need to support his entire system at the same time. Holistic medicine has a lot to offer these guys.
Joyce Harman DVM, MRCVS, Harmany Equine Clinic, Ltd.
Follow us on facebook: Harmany Equine