Q. My 15.2hh French Trotter is now 18 years old but i've only owned
him for two years.
took part in our first endurance competitions and he seemed very
fit for a while. Then I noticed he seemed to be more lethargic than
usual and gave him a few days off.
He was blood
tested and found to be suffering from mild anaemia which we treated.
Everything seemed fine after that until one hot afternoon we went
out for a hack. Then he suddenly stopped dead as if to stale, but
was unable to do so, and I realised he was having an attack of azoturia.
I got him home and he was treated by the vet, but a few days later
the same thing happened again, and now he doesn't seem right. I
am being given conflicting advice about what to do next - I don't
know whether to rest him or exercise him, or whether he needs ant-inflammatories
or some homoeopathic treatment. Can you give any advice?
sort of problems you are experiencing are by no means uncommon and
it is so often difficult to determine why a horse becomes suddenly
susceptible to muscle damage. However, the first thing to note is
that your horse was ill or off colour before the attack of azoturia.
It is possible that he had a mild virus problem, causing the anaemia
and lack of energy. It is known, for example, that herpes virus
infection can predispose horses to azoturia, and so it would seem
possible that a virus of some type might have been involved here
in the past.
I would therefore
recommend that, as well as supplementing with iron, you give an
immune stimulating mix of herbs containing, for example, echinacea,
or tropical herbs.
For anaemia you should also consider a course of iron which is chelated,
making it easier for the body to absorb.
As for the
azoturia attack, it is often difficult to know whether it is the
damage that has already been done
that is predisposing your horse to further problems, or whether
it is the root cause of the first attack that is still present.
It would seems to me that the latter is true.
is congenital, meaning that there is a natural tendency in the horse's
genes to always get the disease.
In such situations
there are drugs which can help stabilise the cell membranes in the
muscle which is getting damaged.
Your own vet
can discuss these matters with you. However, I think it is likely
that other alternatives may be more useful. You should consider
the use of chelated mineral supplements that increase the supply
of magnesium, potassium and calcium for your horse.
In addition a supply of fenugreek seeds can help to protect muscles
and prevent further damage and a supply of vitamin E and selenium
could be important. Some herbs have potent antioxidant
action and can also be extremely useful.
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