Overcoming Equine Lameness With Therapeutic Whole Foods
BioStar blog contributor Lizzie Meyer relates her experiences with lameness in horses, and choosing the right whole food supplements to counter it.
Years ago I was given a twenty-nine year old Quarter horse as a rehabilitation project with the goal of having him be pasture sound. As a ranch horse working in the mountains for over twenty years, he had sustained quite the list of lameness issues. Given that he returned to excellent body condition on a whole food diet and had a definite spark to continue his life, I was determined to do my best.
Lameness in horses can be a full-body issue; severe stifle arthritis, bone spavins in both hocks, canker in his feet, and a freshly torn sacroilliac ligament made up the laundry list of his problems. Hock injections with steroids helped for two days. Bute made him colic within a dose, while Banamine provided relief; but depressed his appetite. Equioxx carried his pain away on bad days, but I could only use it short term and in small doses. He did get Comfort Zone every day, sometimes with the Equioxx.
Whenever I ran out of Comfort Zone he could hardly move and the canker in his feet would get worse overnight. Something in the product had a profound effect on the growth of the canker or on his immune system. To all of his admirers’ great surprise, he was seen at a gallop in the pasture, bucking. I credit this to Comfort Zone and his custom-made whole food diet that changed as his needs and seasons changed. There were days he did not eat the Comfort Zone. I did not force the issue because on his bad days he would eat a double dose on his own. He flourished for two years like this and did very well on Comfort Zone for the duration.
Yet another horse with long-term pain was given to me to see if he could be salvaged. This was an eight-year old Warmblood who had been lame for the last three years. Chronic irritation in the soft-tissues of the hoof pinned him as a grade-four lameness; as evidenced by his toe touching stance about four feet away from his midline. Behind, severe hock pain that did not respond to traditional therapies as well as an old surgical fusion plagued him. To complicate the matter, he was compensating throughout his 1,700 pound body. He had been given NSAIDs when he dangled his front leg in the air. Although drugs masked his pain, they did nothing to help the actual cause of discomfort and irritated his already stressed gut and made him irritable. As a chronic colic case as well, his gut was on thin ice.
Three hours after his first dose of Comfort Zone, he was pointing about half as much as usual. His eyes were brighter the next day. Feeding him three to four bars a day lead to a horse so comfortable that he was eager to be hand-walked after a few days.
He even earned a rope halter for added control. Considering walks in the past consisted of begging him to budge and constantly saving him from tripping, this was huge. He was much more mobile and his personality transformed from angry to affectionate. After several weeks, I fed him two bars per day. To this day, he continues to progress without pointing and his hocks are much more comfortable as his rehabilitation continues. He even lives out with another horse full-time, which was not previously possible due to all these problems related to lameness.
Just when I was starting to wonder about the more acute uses of Comfort Zone, my mare suffered a direct kick to the stifle. The heat in the area over the joint was tremendous and there was a huge muscle spasm in the area. Within about twenty minutes of the kick, she ate five Comfort Zone, eagerly. That evening she was not even resting the leg. The next morning she was totally fine.
Part of why Comfort Zone works so effectively for lameness in horses is due to potent curcumin extract from Turmeric, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. When combined with antioxidant rich red grapes, apples, and the proteolytic papaya enzyme, bromelain, and bound with foods specific for inflammation, this product deals with inflammatory conditions from every possible angle. I have also used it with Uveitis with great success long term. Some horses were able to be weaned off of NSAIDs if they stayed on Comfort Zone.
With respect to the chronic cases, I never saw the above changes with NSAIDs, herbs, or homeopathics alone. It’s nice to be able to trust what I am seeing, versus wonder if a drug is making me see an artificially more comfortable horse. I believe it helps the process move along in a more progressive manner that encourages the body to truly repair.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lizzy Meyer lives in Cypress, TX where she works as a holistic and intuitive horse consultant as well as a representative for BioStar EQ. She sees the horse as a “whole” and utilizes a wide variety of tools in her work; including functional foods, herbs, and energy modalities. She highlights owner education and does rehabilitation work with horses. She has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a degree in Veterinary Technology. With ten years of experience working in the veterinary world and a lifetime of experience with difficult cases (far beyond just lameness in horses), Lizzy is available for consultations via phone, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in person.