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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.

Will my veteran ever get better?
Q: I would like some advice regarding my 26 year old part-bred Arab.

Three years ago my mare had a bad reaction to a tetanus vaccination and ended up with pneumonia. It took her months to recover, and she was left with bouts of laboured breathing especially in the summer. Apart from that she is very healthy.

However, last winter her glands began to swell. I ignored it at first as she seemed well, but they continued to swell and by May her breathing became very fast and laboured. The vet took a blood test and told me she had COPD/allergy. I was told her lungs were very bad and that a chest infection could be very dangerous for her. Her heart is slightly fast and she can now only be used for light hacking at walk.

I would like to know whether she will ever get better, or is this a progressive disease? I would also like to know whether her glands will ever go down and whether there is any treatment that will help her. She is not receiving any treatment at the moment as the vet has said laminitis might be a problem if she has steroids

A: Your horse's bad reaction to vaccination demonstrates how dangerous any vaccination can be, even for tetanus. It sounds like the vaccination three years ago severely affected your horse's immune system. The allergy that has now caused her glands to become swollen may not be caused by the original vaccination, but it is certainly related to a weak immune system.

Vaccinations are important to control many dangerous diseases, but this story illustrates how cautious we must be not over vaccinate.

I have treated horses with severely swollen glands such as you mention. Conventional drugs like steroids will help but cannot be easily used in the long term and weaken the immune system.

I have used supplements  to successfully overcome such problems and advise that you try them.

Over a period of several months I have found that such horses can get back to living norman lives. Some of the most important plants in these supplements are liquorice, adhatoda, vasica and Himalayan Cedar.  Contact Global Herbs for advice.

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