Lameness can occur in horses for a variety of reasons, as a result of injury, overwork, inadequate nutrition, infections, heavy worm infestation or it may be grass or feed related. Click here to view symptom checklist for grass related issues in horses.
Once the condition is correctly diagnosed, then some of the following natural therapies can be used to assist in the treatment and prevention of these ailments to get your horse back in action as safely and quickly as possible.
BOG SPAVIN – Swelling of the hock joint. Homeopathic apis can be given in the early stage with swelling and bryonia is beneficial in the inflammatory state with tenderness. Feed nettle and liquid seaweed to aid in recovery. Externally apply a hot nettle compress, comfrey ointment or Greenpet HerbGel (Avoid using herbGel if skin is broken).
BONE SPAVIN – Bony enlargement on lower inside hock. Homeopathic rhus tox is indicated if the condition improves with exercise, ruta grav in the early stages when periostitis first develops or use arnica if caused by an injury. Feed nettle and liquid seaweed. Externally apply a hot nettle compress, comfrey ointment or Greenpet HerbGel (Avoid using herbGel if skin is broken).
CARPITIS – This is an acute or chronic inflammation of the knee joint. Homeopathic ruta grav can be used when the condition is accompanied by periostitis, rhus tox is indicated when the horse shows improvement with exercise, calc fluor when bony exostoses develop, silicea for chronic cases with fibrous enlargement or hecla lava which is also beneficial for bony exotoses.
CORNS – Commonly occur in the fore feet. Injury can lead to a moist corn and infection will lead to suppuration, Homeopathic calc fluor will aid in the absorption of hard tissue and promote healthy growth and silicea should be used for suppurating corns and arnica for those caused by an injury. Externally stand the affected foot in a bucket of hot water with Epsom salts.
CURB – Bony swelling just below the hock. Homeopathic rhus tox should be used in the acute inflammatory stage, ruta grav helps to prevent deposition of new bone and silicea can be used in chronic cases to reduce scar tissue.
GREASY HEEL – Excess secretion of sebum from the skin leading to infection, most common on the hind feet or horses left standing for long periods in damp, dirty stables or wet paddocks. The horse shows restlessness and there may be swelling of the legs with an oily discharge. Externally – wash with warm soapy water, to remove all dirt and apply Greenpet HerbPlus ointment (available from clinic). Use this daily until healed and scabs have fallen off. Homeopathic graphites is for sticky, honey coloured secretion, arsenicum alb should be used in the early stages before secretions become profuse, ant crud is used when vesicles appear and the skin thickens, thuja is especially beneficial for this condition. Supplement with rosehips and liquid seaweed daily.
LAMINITIS (FOUNDER) – commonly affects the fore feet and is very painful. In the acute stage the horse will stand with hind feet drawn under the body to relieve pressure on the fore feet, which are extended. The causes are generally overindulgence in grain feed (horses that break into feed shed), grazing on rich pastures, especially when not used to green feed. Seek professional assistance immediately and start using the following to assist in recovery. Homeopathic aconite should be given in the acute stage, belladonna with bounding pulse and sweating, nux vomica for systemic congestion or calc fluor in chronic cases with tissue involvement. Externally apply a flaxseed or turnip poultice to the feet. Turnips should be boiled and mashed then applied on a flannel and tied in place with a stocking below and above the fetlock. Replace twice daily. The horse should be removed from the paddock and placed in a grass-free yard with adequate shelter. Ideally the ground should be wet sand or soft underfoot. Stand the feet in cold water with a spoonful of bicarb added. Give also a drench of rosehip tea three times daily & use anti-inflammatory & circulatory herbs such as hawthorn, nettle & devils claw in liquid extract. Hi form Proflam Aid Plus is also a great pain reliever and a safe alternative to ‘bute’.
MUD FEVER – Little pustules form around the pastern with swelling. Externally wash the affected area with a copper sulphate solution (2 tsp copper sulphate to 300ml water), dry well afterwards. Supplement with liquid seaweed. Avoid leaving horse in muddy paddocks and keep legs dry. Homeopathic apis can be used for swelling if present. Apply Greenpet HerbPlus ointment.
PERIOSTITIS – Inflammation which commonly occurrs in the fetlock joint. Homeopathic ruta grav is recommended, apis when there is fluid in the joint capsule or bryonia when there is heat and tenderness in the early stages.
QUITTOR – A pussy sore on or near the coronet. Homeopathic hypericum or ledum in the early stages if puncture wound is involved, hepar sulph in low or high potency to hasten or prevent suppuration or silicea in a chronic case. Externally a wash made with hypericum and calendula will help healing.
RINGBONE – New bony growth on pastern or coffin joints. (High ringbone or long ringbone). Homeopathic silicea when fibrosis is developing, calc fluor or ruta grav can be used to help control exostoses and periostitis from developing.
NAVICULAR DISEASE – Usually affects the fore feet. Intermittent lameness. Homeopathic crotalus horridus has proven useful, secale aids circulation to the feet and is used after crotalus, bryonia is indicated when the condition is better with rest and worse with movement. Supplement with Hi form Proflam for natural pain relief.
SANDCRACK – Vertical crack or split in wall of hoof. Corrective shoeing may be necessary and supplement with extra rosehips and liquid seaweed. Externally fill bad cracks with a mash made from steamed rosemary herb, pulped and mixed with salt. Homeopathic calc fluor or silicea may be indicated. Apply Linseed (flax) oil or comfrey oil to speed up growth.
SEEDY TOE – Formation of cavities between the outer wall of hoof and inner sensitive areas. Homeopathic silicea is the recommended remedy or hepar sulph in the early stage. Externally ask your farrier to trim the hoof back as far as possible, and bathe with hypericum & calendula lotion, then fill the holes with a copper sulphate mixed with honey to promote healing. This should be repeated daily until healed. Supplement with rosehips, garlic and liquid seaweed daily. Apply linseed (flax) oil daily to hooves.
SIDEBONES – Bony growths on sides of pastern. Homeopathic remedies for ringbone may be beneficial.
SPLINTS – The formation of a bony lump on the inside of the front legs below the knee. Homeopathic arnica should be given as soon as possible after injury is sustained, ruta grav can help control periostitis and exostosis and silicea or calc fluor when exostosis develops. Externally apply a warm compress of mashed comfrey leaves.
STRINGHALT – Involuntary flexion of the hock. Homeopathic strychninum helps to reduce the spasmodic flexion. Sever magnesium deficiency is associated with this condition. Supplement with magnesium, dolomite and liquid seaweed. Avoid lucerne hay and grains until the condition improves. Seek advice regarding natural diet to prevent the condition recurring.
TENDINITIS – Inflammation of one or both flexor tendons. Homeopathic rhus tox for pain that is eased by movement, apis for swelling and silicea for chronic cases. Externally apply Greenpet HerbGel.
THRUSH – This is a degenerative disease of the frog, which emits a foul-smelling discharge. Homeopathic kreosotum is often indicated, silicea will help necrotic tissue and promote healthy granulation, kali bich is indicated for foul-smelling discharge. Externally the grooves of the frog should be plugged with cotton wool soaked in grapefruit extract solution, eucalyptus or tea tree oil. The horse must be kept on dry ground and hooves cleaned at least twice daily. Feed garlic, rosehips & liquid seaweed daily.
EQUIMIN SUPPLEMENT is a great all round nutritional powder for horses. It contains Rosehips, dolomite, kelp, garlic, nettle, chamomile, peppermint, alfalfa, green barley, spirulina, blackstrap molasses and apple cider vinegar.
A full range of Homeopathic and herbal remedies are available from Greenpet.
Magnetic therapy can greatly assist horses suffering from joint, muscle and ligament damage (as well as people). Greenpet stocks a range of magnetic products for horses.
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