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Autoimmune Syndrome - allergy season is in full swing


Inflammation is a hot topic in medicine, literally.

In our human world it appears connected to almost every known chronic disease, from heart disease to cancer, diabetes to obesity, autism to dementia, and even depression.

Certainly in our horse-world, inflammatory conditions such as allergies, arthritis and laminitis seem to be increasing at dramatic rates – there’s not a day goes by when I don’t get an enquiry relating to these, and sadly the veterinary-diagnosed ‘autoimmune’ word is cropping up more and more.

Our medical physicians are trained to shut off inflammation with anti-inflammatories, steroids and increasingly more powerful immune-suppressing medication, all with negative side effects, yet they don’t seem to be trained to find and treat the underlying causes of inflammation in chronic disease. It’s like being told to take a ton of Aspirin while we’re standing on a nail. The treatment is not more Aspirin or a strong immune suppressant, but removing the nail. Obvious, you’d think.

Autoimmune conditions are connected by one central biochemical process: a runaway immune response, also known as systemic inflammation, that results in the body attacking its own tissues. Hidden allergens, infections, environmental toxins, an inflammatory diet, stress – these are all the real causes of these inflammatory conditions. To cool off inflammation in the body, we must find the source - treat the fire, not the smoke - and ask WHY our horse is sick instead of giving it a pointless label and a script to cover up the symptoms.

I recently had a client whose horse was in meltdown. The word PTS was being mentioned frequently by the vet, and the owner was now at the point where she genuinely thought it was the kindest thing to do. She’d owned her 20-yr old cob since he was 6-months old, and he was so chronically itchy that he would bite himself raw. He had arthritis and stomach ulcers. He’d been on bute and steroids for years, alongside a list of other pharmaceuticals as long as your arm. Astonishingly, this had been going on since 2013, so you can understand the absolute fortune she’d spent with her vets to try and make her boy comfortable. In a nutshell, her horse was so inflamed he could barely function.

After hearing the full story, I was so angry that I spent the whole of my car journey to the yard the following morning ranting out loud at her vets' shameful 5-year intervention of a chemical cocktail of toxicity, swirling around her boy like a whirlpool, which was doing nothing but driving the toxins further into his system and creating havoc for his desperately poor liver, which was very obviously suffering a slow lingering destruction.

So we set to work, and started by rebooting his body. We cleaned up his whole system and rebuilt his gut health with our OptimaCARE, our full-body detox program, changed his feed to the EquiNatural recommended feedplan as in organic and equine-appropriate (see Feeding Our Horses), and supported his whole system with vital nutrients with our EquiVitaProBPlus mineral balancer.

Within a few weeks - about four weeks actually - my client’s horse was not only healthy and happy, but at the ripe old age of 20 was back in work again. And ... it didn’t take 5-years, and it didn’t cost a fortune.

Stories like these (and the many others I’ve shared in my blogs and as Case Studies on the website) are not just anecdotes but a giant compass pointing us in the direction we should be looking to find the real answers to our horse’s health problems.Autoimmunity - what is it?

We all know that the immune system is the body's defense against invaders. We also all know that it's the internal army and has to clearly distinguish friend from foe - to know it’s host from the bad guys. Autoimmunity occurs when the immune system gets confused and its own tissues get caught in friendly cross-fire.

While the body is fighting something - an infection, a toxin, an allergen, a food or a stress response — it somehow redirects its hostile attack on the joints, brain, thyroid, gut, skin, or sometimes the whole body. This immune confusion results from what is referred to as molecular mimicry, and sadly conventional approaches don’t have a method for finding the insult causing the problem.

(In human health, autoimmune diseases, when taken all together, are a huge health burden. They are the eighth leading cause of death among women, shortening the average patient’s lifespan by eight years, with the annual health care cost for autoimmune diseases up there in the Billions.)

Unfortunately, many of the conventional treatments available can make the system worse. Anti-inflammatories, steroids, immune suppressants, can lead to intestinal bleeding, kidney failure, depression, osteoporosis, muscle loss and diabetes, not to mention infection. My client’s results – and many others - simply reflect how a functional approach gets to the root of health issues and treats the underlying causes, instead of suppressing symptoms with medications.

Top Tips

  1. Check for hidden infections — yeast, viruses, bacteria, Lyme, etc.
  2. Check for food allergens – in some horses alfalfa is known to contribute towards gut and skin sensitivities.
  3. Cleaning up the gut function is one of the most important steps to take in the autoimmune journey. It improves the ability to absorb nutrients, and also dramatically reduces inflammation.- Remove the Bad – get rid of gut infections and toxic inflammatory foods.- Restore the Good – re-establish a healthy gut flora with probiotics and prebiotics.
  4. Feed a nutrient-dense diet; you’d be amazed at how many horses out there with ‘issues’ aren’t fed balanced minerals, vitamins, omegas, antioxidants, all of which calm the immune response naturally, all of which can be found in our EquiVita mineral solution range. Adding linseed into the diet for Omega-3 EFA is also really important.
  5. Exercise regularly - it’s a natural anti-inflammatory.
  6. Eliminate stress – it dramatically worsens the immune response.
  7. Allow plenty of relaxation - Friends, Forage, Freedon - turnout with equine buddies to play and groom with.

And if you think your horse needs a full-body detox, see our Detoxification chapter in our Herbal Nutrition section.