Q Last Spring my 16.2hh, five-year-old Thoroughbred gelding appeared
to develop sensitivity to small flies and strong smelling wild flowers
such as cow parsley.
settled only to return this year. He began headshaking quite badly
as soon as the flies and oil seed rape appeared and this has continued
despite veterinary intervention. Are there any herbal remedies I
problem of pollen sensitivity and headshaking is common and shared
by many distressed horse owners. It appears that such allergies
are becoming more common with each passing year this may be due
to increasing levels of pollution and the cultivation of new crops
such as oils seed rape.
You also mention
that your horse is becoming very sensitive to flies, which makes
the whole problem worse. In the normal veterinary armoury there
are very few ways of tackling such problems effectively. Vets can
use antihistamines and steroids in the worse cases. However, the
fact remains that horses when they are outside grazing are constantly
exposed to high levels of pollen.
As time goes
by, horses will become more and more sensitive to allergens in the
environment and the situation often progresses to nerve damage inside
the head, which causes headshaking in the winter as well as the
summer. Herbs are one effective way of tackling such problems.
have a type of antihistamine action, e.g. fresh extract of nettle
(dried nettles don't work). Some ayurvedic herbs can also work and
will help to repel flies. An extract of cedar trees can be extremely
helpful in repelling flies and soothing the lining of the nose.
. We have also
found that magnesium supplements and using calming formulas can
help speed recovery. Managing
affected horses is also important and nose nets may improve the
situation further.Global Herbs have a new product out called Shakefree
which combines all these ideas.
on Headshaking (2)
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