Posts Tagged ‘Immune system’

Concern, Greed, Insanity, or Smarts?

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

I didn’t want to post on this until I saw clear improvement in Fudge.  On August 17th I told you that I had worked with my vet to order the decoquinate preventative for Fudge, because he does have a low titer to Sn.  Over the course of the month, I have given Fudge the prevention dose.  And, well, I see great improvement in the amount of feed he drops.  Will this convert to better work under saddle?  I don’t know – he goes bitless:-)

I have done a lot of reading on decoquinate over the past month.  It appears from published literature to be very safe.  It’s over the counter (OTC) for all other farm animals.  So… I get this hair-brained idea to see if a full treatment dose will help more.  Some of you will read this, and pick an adjective from those in the title.  Maybe you have another one.  No, my vet was not consulted on this.

While safe, there is a trade-off with the immune system.  At the preventative dose, the protozoa in the intestines are killed, and a few in the blood stream or intracellular.  The few killed in the blood circulate.  It primes the immune system to produce IgG antibodies specific to Sn.  This cuts the two-week lag time for the horse to go from non-specific IgM antibodies to specific IgG antibodies.  This is important when the protozoa reproduce and multiply by four every few hours.

At the treatment dose, all Sn protozoa in the body are killed within 10 days, and the body stops producing IgG antibodies because there are not any more dead protozoa in the system.  I have shot the immune-training ability of the preventative.  But, what IF Fudge had a sub-clinical infection?  The only way to find out was to give the treatment dose.  I’ll let you know what happens.

A word of warning.  Decoquinate is OTC for other animals.  It is also combined with Rumensin or Monensin which are both very toxic to horses.  Don’t use OTC decoquinate for your beloved horse.

How Low Can You Go?

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

In the same vein as “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til its gone,” you don’t know how UNHEALTHY your horse is until you’ve seen him get better.  It took six months for me to realize how sick the horse had been when we bought him.  It has now been one year since he completed treatment for EPM, and I think we might be about topped out. 

The natural trimmer, Dawn Willoughby commented on him when she was out in February.  The vet and the dentist commented on him when they were out earlier in March.  WOW! This horse looks great.  His coat is exceptionally glossy without oil or silicone.  His eyes are bright.  He trots out with a twinkle in his eye (and mischief in his head).

FUDGE is feeling better!

It has taken one full year for this horse to turn around.  Good nutrition, no stall time, low stress, and trimming his feet.  I am not as worried about a relapse now.

If you are dealing with EPM, you need to realize how low your horse’s immune system is.  Your horse is broken.  Take the time to fix him before you plan your next outing/show/hunt.  It will take longer than you believe.  It will take longer than your vet is willing to tell you.  It takes more than one month of FDA drugs, nutrition, trimming, and money.  It takes time.

Snow Monsters

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

The blizzard of 2010 kept us busy clearing the driveway and cars this morning.  We are lucky to still have power after the high winds and heavy snow.  The horses are rarely stalled, but we put them in last night due to the possibility of branches coming down.  They were very happy to get out. 

Fudge (star) plays with Drifter (star and stripe) in the 28″ of snow.  Fudge has come a long way in his recuperation.  He is still not ride-able at more than a walk or trot.  We will continue to work on this rehab with ground exercises, and walking the trails.  It’s a very long way to the hunter pace this May.  I don’t know if Fudge will ever come back far enough to ride at a canter.  Time will tell.

The Mustang mare is obviously bored with the play of the geldings.  She is eating from one of the slow feeders.  It’s made from a small mesh hay net over a muck bucket.  It closes with a double ended dog snap.  These slow feeders are easy to fill and drag over the snow.


It has been one year since we purchased Fudge from Paula Derby of Lazy D Acres.  She has relocated to Ocala , FL.  She still obtains horses from the infamous New Holland Auction in Lancaster, PA. 

One of the things that stresses horses is trailering.  Long distance trailering suppresses the immune system.  When researchers want to infect horses with EPM, they use the trailering stress model.  Somehow, I can’t see the auction process, followed by long distance trailering as beneficial to the health of a horse.

MicroLactin and Vaccines

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Yesterday Fudge had the last of the vaccines in the refrigerator, for West Nile Virus.  It has caused a clear runny nose, slightly worse impairment of the hind legs, and general malaise.  A worsening of symptoms is typical for EPM horses, but you never know which vaccine may cause problems.

I have Fudge on the supplement MicroLactin (Duralactin) for help in reduing the inflammation in his central nervous system caused by EPM.   It helps to control neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that is the first defender to arrive at the scene of infection or trauma to the skin.  Neutrophils are closely tied to the process of inflammation, so limiting them limits inflammation.

MicroLactin has been studied in humans for reduction of inflammation, and has one horse trial by Dr. Bello, involving 58 horses.  Links to the study abstracts are below.  This over-the-counter supplement is worth a try for EPM horses – especially during vaccine season.

The Use of MicroLactin for Inflammatory Conditions in Equine Veterinary Practice“, Bello, Thomas.

Effects of a Milk-Based Bioactive Micronutrient…“, Colker, Carlon.

Skin Problems and Immune System

Thursday, March 19th, 2009
Starting to grow hair April 4th

Starting to grow hair April 4th

The day that Fudgie came home, we noticed small bumps coming up on his skin. To head off problems, we wanted to wash him in an anti-microbial shampoo. We also noticed that he had older skin wounds that looked like they weren’t healing well. Two months later, the wounds have just now started to heal.

Fudge came to us with large blanket rubs across his shoulders and chest. After two months the hair had not started to grow back.

When a horse’s immune system is compromised by a long infection, it can’t keep the many microbes that normally inhabit the skin in check. Fungi and bacteria begin to create infections. The body also doesn’t have the extra energy to renew skin, hair, and hooves. Poor nutrition, lack of vitamin E in winter, and infection can all play a role in less-than-healthy coat and skin. We are addressing the EPM infection through medicine, and are boosting the immune system with a supplement containing probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. He is also getting 8,000 IU of additional vitamin E each day.