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Over the past five years, vet Stephen Ashdown has written many articles, spoken on equine matters and contributed widely to horse magazines.

Here he reproduces in the form of questions and answers about 100 topics, all of them common problems which afflict horses.

To access Topics click on Vet Advice Menu.

Bone Problem
Q. My thoroughbred mare was kicked on the near hind canon bone, resulting in the formation of a sequestra. As I understand it, this is the an area of damaged bone where the blood supply becomes cut off, resulting in the bone matter 'dying'.


Comfrey

The sequestra was operated on and the damaged bone removed. However, five weeks on, it appears that the problem has not been resolved. A repeat operation seems likely - are there any homoeopathic remedies I can try in the meantime?

A. This is indeed a difficult problem. The main issue is infection within the bone, known as osteomyelitis. Once this is established, the blood supply to such areas becomes diminished and the body finds it very difficult to fight off any infection. Antibiotics may not work at all in such situations.

In order to improve the healing mechanism, you need to strengthen your horse's immune sytem using plants such as echinacea. Also, the use of comfrey will help to improve the way the bone heals.

The root can be used internally as a poultice. A good alternative to the sue of comfrey is the plant cissus quadrangularis.

Echinacea is a plant best used over a short, two week period, giving small doses regularly throughout the day. For long term treatment I would use an Ayurvedic formula that does not contain echinacea. Circulatory stimulants such as prickly ash bark may also help a great deal by improving circulation to the affected area. Homoeopathic treatments can also help in such situations, but are best given with the direct advice of an experienced practitioner.

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