Meet Filippa, a 17-yr old WB, owned and much loved by Liza, who together for 7-years had been based in Dubai.
Liza originally contacted me early October 2016. Filippa had been returned to the UK a couple of months previously to be semi-retired due to joint issues; Liza felt it was better for her to be in an environment where she was able to move about more freely. It was a tough decision for Liza to retire her home but she knew it would give her the best retirement she so deserved.
Soon after arriving back in the UK, Filippa became very subdued and significantly lost condition. Understandably it was heartbreaking for Liza to see Filippa so sad in these initial months, despite being prepared that the stress of the move was likely to affect her. Worse still, she was also diagnosed with Cushings and was now on Pergolide.
After a thorough investigation of Filippa’s new lifestyle and feed regime, it seemed to me that everything Filippa was experiencing was connected, and I didn’t doubt for a minute that Liza wasn’t aware of this. First off, she’d had a major change in her life which had not only been traumatic but also involved separation from Liza. Twin this with her ongoing joint discomfort, where research shows that continued discomfort plays a negative part in the immunity system where cortisol is released (the stress/survival hormone) which adversely affects the central nervous system and kidney function.
In addition she also had Cushings, which is renowned for affecting the mood to melancholic, and Pergolide is also known to reinforce the feeling of lethargy and depression. Alongside all this, Fillipa’s survival instict would naturally be trying to be stoic and strong, which in itself needs energy, and on an already fatigued state there was no question in my mind that she needed support. I could only imagine how concerned Liza must be feeling.
Here’s part of my reply to Liza: “Any kind of ongoing stress compounds upon itself, resulting in significantly affecting the immune system where every systemic response is linked. This triggers a negative cascade on the whole system, which finally ends up in a poorly functioning state. Everything is linked:
- Worry/stress/anxiety means poor quality rest and relaxation, which leads to the system and physical body becoming exhausted.
- From here on, everything becomes sluggish; circulation (the life force), desire for food, digestion (so no absorption of nutrients from food to keep the body thriving), which therefore leads to poor immunity.
- The adrenals will now be working overtime on survival-autopilot and trying to hold everything together in ‘fight or flight mode’ by releasing adrenalin (the stress/survival hormone).
- Now here begins the downward spiral; because the system’s exhausted it has neither the energy to fight or fly, so this adrenalin isn’t being burnt off which results in the body ending up in a state of anxious alert (think muscle tremor/shivering-style, all knee-jerk response and beyond control) but brain-fogged with it because the body’s so worn out and now highly acidic. Cue feeling even more anxious, gut health in meltdown, and seriously fatigued with it.
It’s a really horrid cycle of systemic events, but it can be turned around – however, it’s not just a case of introducing some ‘fun’ and ‘happiness’ into the day! It’s a long, gentle process which starts at the root of the problem by resolving the source of the anxiety, which will get the rest/sleep pattern back which reduces the fatigue, then working upstream by restoring gut health and function, which restores immunity and thus, overall health and happiness.
Horses’ sanity is all based around them being allowed to express their natural behaviour, and this occurs when being given freedom to move and with other equine buddies to play, groom and socialize with. This will instantly have a profound effect on calming the adrenals, the cortisol release diminishes, and the whole body and brain won’t feel so anxious.
- The improved, calmer mental state means that the body will be naturally willing to venture around a bit more, which will trigger hunger again.
- As appetite increases, the nutrients in the feed start to rebuild the body and weight/condition improves. Now is the time to ensure that the diet is absolutely appropriate, as clean and uncontaminated as possible, alongside forage-balanced minerals to support the physical frame and vitality of the central nervous system.
- Now we need to focus on strengthening immunity, so as soon as the appetite is back, the gut needs cleaning up with the beneficial microbiome levels repopulated, for the gut to digest, assimilate and absorb all the nutrients, then shuttle everything through the gut wall into the bloodstream to feed the body and stay healthy. Up to 80% of immunity is built from the gut so as the gut gets healthier, immunity gets stronger.”
I suggested to Liza that she initially consider giving Filippa a course of our OptimaCARE full body detox programme. I felt that as she’d had such a major change to her lifestyle and the related stress had clearly led to loss of condition, alongside her existing issues, in my view the cascade of events was now leading to immunodeficiency.
I didn’t want to overegg any formula for her by throwing lots of different things at her at this stage – we had to get her healthy again before we could address anything else. Right now, it was clear that her gut wasn’t working well enough to get the nutrients from her feed to her body, so I felt it was unlikely she’d benefit from any other support until her gut health – and that of her vital organs - was restored.
With this in mind, I suggested a couple of minor tweaks to her feed regime, and that Liza also take a look at our CushTonic to feed at the opposite end of the day to the EquiOptima, to help counteract the depressive effects of the Pergolide.
I also recommended Liza add micronized Linseed to the feedbowl for the high-nutrient source of Omega-3 and to help realkalinise her body’s cellular membrane back to health, which would also support skin/coat and joint health.
End November, Liza emailed me to tell me that following the detox course, Filippa had improved so much, was a far happier girl, eating well and looking well. And she’d loved the detox herbs as well!
I was so happy to hear this. Initially Liza sent me a photo of Filipa in her depressed state which I stupidly managed to delete, and since asking Liza to send it to me again for the benefit of the case study, she understandably said she found looking at the earlier photos too upsetting so she'd deleted them herself. However, you can take it that she looked really poorly, very underweight and ribby.
So it's with huge relief that the photo of Filipa above was taken after the course of EquiOptima and you can see she looks positively cheery! Her condition is so much improved, and I'd go so far as to say there's even a sparkle in her eye - she almost looks like she’s smiling :o)