Q Every autumn my 15-year old gelding gets blood down his legs from
his sheath. The vet has said that it's because there is too much
limestone in the soil.
He has given
antibiotics to help the problem but I have heard that giving antibiotics
regularly is bad for horses. Is there anything I could give him
to stop this happening?
think the problem is likely to be linked to mineral deposits that
are building up in the bladder, although without having more details
from your vet it's difficult to know exactly. It may be due to the
high levels of limestone in the soil.
with stones in the bladder is they are likely to cause infection
which is probably producing the blood. You can help dissolve the
stones naturally by using a kidney tonic. Antibiotics
are used to get rid of the infection. Antibiotics are sometimes
necessary to cure bacterial infections but it's true they are over-used.
The main disadvantage
to using antibiotics is that the bacteria causing the problems can
become resistant to them and in the future you will not be able
to treat infections so well.
is that antibiotics can kill off too many helpful bacteria in the
horse's bowel and cause diarrhoea. In your case it's important that
your horse has antibiotics if there is infection present.
however, consider means to boost the immune system so infections do
not get established. You
might also discuss with your vet what you can give your horse to
help minerals in the bladder dissolve. It's best to use acidifying
agents but, of course, if you have too much calcium in the diet
it will be best to change the diet or grazing.
In order to
boost the immune system try using a good formula for about one month before the problem occurs. Alternatively,
try moving your horse to different grazing, even if only for the
most dangerous three months of the year.
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