Straightforward enough, so I explained that Metformin is the lab-synthesised drug given to humans with Diabetes Type 2 to lower blood sugar levels, originally synthesised from the plant Galega officinale, common name Goat's Rue. This was the main herb in our MetaTonic, working synergistically with the other complimentary herbs in the blend to manage blood sugar, blood insulin and weight management. In essence, our MetaTonic provided the natural form of Metformin, instead of a lab-made chemical with potential side effects.
Gail was happy enough with the explanation, so she ordered a 1kg bag, saying she hoped she’d end up with a happier mare, as she was sure the Metformin was making her girthy and angry.
Whoa!!! Red Flag No.1 - girthy/angry is a whole other thing, so I replied back with my usual ‘microbiome out of whack/SIBO Leaky Gut possibility, or even ulcers’ reply. I sent her off to read our Gut System section from top to bottom. Gail came straight back with Pudds’ current feed schedule for me to check in case anything needed changing.
Sure enough, there were a couple of the poor-quality ‘brands’ in there, but Gail was also feeding a ton of different supplements, literally caught up by the spin and throwing everything and more at Pudds in the hope of making her more comfy - something we see so often.
So, back I went with my usual all-things-feed reply, and the instruction that she was now to read our Feeding our Horses section, and particularly the page Why what we feed has to be right.
Back came her reply – after she’d read the page of course 😉 -
“Morning Carol, Good grief!!!!, I’m actually blown away, moving forward this is exciting. Gail”
Job done! An EMS client, now on our MetaTonic support blend, enlightened on the feed industry spin, and with a new feed plan in place (Agrobs/Thunderbrooks). Little did we know that a week later it was all about to go Very Horribly Wrong.
- Sent: 18 November 2020
"Pudds has suffered a major setback. Reluctant to come out of her stable, keeps lifting NH leg (shortened tendon leg), finding it very difficult to walk. Vet saw her last night and was ‘totally positive’ that there was no laminitis (remember this, my dear EquiNatural friends - 'totally positive') so lasered the leg in case it was the tissue/muscle tightening. However, this morning she was worse so put her on Danilon."
I went back with every suggestion I could think of – was there heat or swelling in the leg? Coronet band - super hot or healthily warm? Any pounding digi pulses? Could it be an abscess about to erupt? And remembering my horrible 2014 experience with our Carmen when she developed joint sepsis (from an ancient wound I inherited when I bought her), did Pudds have any wound on the leg, even just a scratch, that could have developed into joint sepsis?
In the event that it might be an infection, I suggested our BioCARE, which Gail thought sounded promising. She finished her email with:
“This mare has gone through so much, she was beaten when she was 5 with a piece of 4x2 wood by a horse transporter cos she wouldn't load, and brought down on the road. I promised that mare that I would give her a happy, loving home and get her as pain free as I can, that was 10 yrs ago.”
Well flippy heck. That sent my BP up and I no longer wanted my lunch ... Yet another horrible story for yet another poor horse, suffering at the hands of appalling humans who shouldn't be let near any animal, let alone a horse.
Gail also told me that for the past 3-years her blood tests showed low white-cell count, and a couple of years previously her liver nearly gave up on her. This poor mare had also been through the immunity wars.
Then it got worse ...
- Sent: 25 November 2020
“Pudds is laying down a lot, her crest has come back up, she’s so touchy and angry and has a job to walk. I am so scared of losing her.”
Her vet had said there was 'positively no lami', remember? But if you’re cresty, touchy, angry, there’s deep rooted red-hot inflammation at cellular level somewhere in there, and if you're lying down a lot and struggling to walk? Whatever the cause, Pudds was in major pain.
She was already on Danilon but not a high dose, so I suggested Gail up the Danilon in the meantime, explaining that she was so internally inflamed that, agreed, we didn’t want the additional toxic residue from more Danilon right now, but she needed her pain gone, and at least the MetaTonic and BioCARE together would help support her liver function as it metabolised the Danilon. Right now Pudds would be solely focused on her pain so it was crucial to alleviate this first to get her both physically and mentally stable enough to be receptive to healing.
What had started out as a straightforward IR issue was now transpiring into a much bigger picture
I was sure Pudds was falling into a chronic laminitic episode, but her vet had said no way, so I now needed to dig much deeper on a physiological level to get to the root source of her issues.
We needed to focus on alleviating and stabilising Pudds’ pain/inflammation, then work downstream from her presenting symptoms to the root causes. I put all this to Gail - sit tight, I said, get the Danilon into her, don't try to move her, and keep her comfy with a healthy feedbowl and ad-lib forage until she’s out of pain.
“Don’t take this the wrong way Carol,” Gail replied back. “But I’ve never met or spoken to you, yet somehow I’m putting my trust in you and will do what you say.”
She was right - who the heck was I? But she was prepared to trust me - no pressure then! Gail’s mare was proving to be a whole other challenge than her original message back on 2nd November - there had to be something much deeper going on in there. So, what had changed and what else was there?
And so we began ...
... and went right back to the beginning from when Gail took her on after she'd been beaten by the transporter a**hole, to current date where Pudds had now had the same symptoms repeating during the last 3/4 yrs:
“Sores had appeared on front and back fetlocks, vet put her on ‘big sachets’ of antibiotics and box rest, whereafter she developed full blown laminitis. So more box rest, starvation diet, that really made her angry and the near hind to be really sore, got a lady in with Tens machine, after about 6 sessions pudds told her to f... off, cow-kicked even before this lady got near her.” Yep, I'm with Pudds here - I mean, seriously - whoever thought that giving a horse a stabbing electric shock treatment was a good plan FFS?!
Then 2 ½ yrs ago she was scoped for ulcers, one apparently “found on the edge of hind gut going into bowel,” which won’t have been an ulcer, per se, as there are no acid-secreting cells there, so more likely to be an almighty leaky-gut wound. Worse still, on rescoping, Pudds regurgitated the camera and chewed the end of it, haemorrhaged in the process and lost ½-bucket of blood. WTF?!
She was then put on Metformin in July 2020, and had this particular episode on that, plus she was constantly lifting her NH, her ‘bad leg’.
Then we had a recent, alleged colic appear in the mix as well -
"She was treated for so-called colic 5/6 weeks ago, and given so many drugs - Morphine, a week’s supply of Metacam, plus others in the initial 24-hrs. It’s since then she hasn’t got better, that’s when the farrier found the abscess track, but it was so far up the hoof he couldn’t get to it, then 3-weeks ago the vet gave her a laser treatment on the other hind and the next day a sore appeared between coronet band and fetlock, vet said it wasn’t anything to do with abscess as it was too far up.”
Gail finished with, “My farrier said a couple of months ago that it was all about her lack of immune system. The osteo has made the greatest difference but she can’t put her finger on it either. Sores and abscesses do keep appearing, and basically whatever drugs she has, don’t work. Blood test 3yrs ago showed IR, low white cells and selenium, bloods 3-4 months ago showed EMS, low white cell and selenium.”
Well, there was a story and a half. All really good info for me that started to piece the Pudds’ jigsaw together. No wonder she was so fed up, not to mention her ongoing discomfort for 15-years from her damaged tendon which would have triggered the On-button on her stress syndrome. Having personally double-fractured my left ankle in Aug 2019, I could empathise with Pudds – my tibia/fibula bones had healed brilliantly (with lots of metal! Plus I'd thrown everything in the fix-kit at it), but the long-term hard work was all about the soft tissue - the tendons and ligaments joining ankle to foot, that nearly 18-months on are still not 100%. I’ve only been out of a compression sock since Christmas, with the help of magnet bands, collagen, CBD oil and our JSTGel - which was brilliant by the way 😉 Long and short, soft tissue takes a ton of healing, and as I type, each day with every step I can still 'feel' the injury. So imagine 10-years on for Pudds with her bad leg, still so uncomfortable that she has to constantly lift it to get relief ...
Just as an aside, there was also an environmental issue as well for Pudds. Her paddock used to be a tip for tomatoes, then it was built up with building waste and filled over. For years Gail had sown pasture seed but what grass grew, Pudds wouldn’t eat it. No surprise as the toxins from below would have been leaching directly into whatever grew in it ...
The Pudds timeline
- violent attack causes severe muscle tendon damage leading to shortened tendon – PAIN / ONGOING MOBILITY DISCOMFORT LEADING TO ONGOING STRESS
- her liver hits the ‘failure’ button and has to be rebuilt. The only reason given at the time was stress. PAIN / STRESS / COMPROMISED IMMUNITY THEREAFTER / OVERALL UNWELLNESS
- fetlock sores, hardcore antibiotics prescribed with box rest leading to full onset laminitis – PAIN / STRESS / SANITY / COMPROMISED IMMUNITY DUE TO ANTIBIOTIC DAMAGE (DESTRUCTION OF MICROBIOME WHICH CREATES IMMUNE CELLS)
- starvation diet (urgh! When will vets learn that you must not starve a horse with laminitis?) – STRESS (HIGH LEVEL) / SERIOUS LACK OF ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS LEADING TO GUT/MICROBIOME DYSFUNCTION AND COMPROMISED IMMUNITY
- very sore near hind, Tens machine nightmare experience – PAIN / FEAR / STRESS RESPONSE
- blood test shows IR/low white cell count – IR AFFECTING GUT SYSTEM / ENDOCRINE SYSTEM / BLOOD SYSTEM / LIVER FUNCTION / COMPROMISED IMMUNITY
- scoped for ulcers, major drama on rescoping – PAIN / FEAR / STRESS (HIGH LEVEL)
- laminitis - PAIN / STRESS / GUT SYSTEM / ENDOCRINE SYSTEM / BLOOD SYSTEM / LIVER FUNCTION / COMPROMISED IMMUNITY
- blood test again shows high IR/low white cells – EMS AFFECTING GUT SYSTEM / ENDOCRINE SYSTEM / BLOOD SYSTEM / LIVER FUNCTION / COMPROMISED IMMUNITY
- colic episode - PAIN / STRESS / GUT SYSTEM
Nov'20 (when Gail contacts me)
- recurring laminitis symptoms - PAIN / STRESS / EMS AFFECTING GUT SYSTEM / ENDOCRINE SYSTEM / BLOOD SYSTEM / LIVER FUNCTION / COMPROMISED IMMUNITY
- sores and abscesses keep appearing – PAIN / STRESS / IMMUNE SYSTEM
Just look at the constant recurring theme going on here – pain, stress, toxicity - and every system and organ in her body affected. Plus long-term discomfort which brings on ongoing stress, which as we know triggers the sympathetic nervous system to engage the survival ‘fight/flight’ response to permanently ‘On’ - this in itself releases its own toxic side effects from the survival hormones released (cortisol/adrenalin) - see our Stress page for the full effects of what stress does to the body - trust me, it's not pretty ☹
Her immune system had been significantly compromised since the antibiotic assault on her microbiome, with a further toxic assault during her colic episode with the relentless pharma meds. And ... her gut/liver/lymphatics/endocrine (hormone) function was out of whack due to her IR/EMS.
Pudds’ whole system had been under assault from every direction for sooo long – no wonder she was now seriously struggling. Her microbiome was shot to pieces and her gut system was in bad shape; plenty of leaky gut going on in there, and with her immunity virtually non-existent, she was worn out and fatigued with the pain and stress of it all. She had to cope with her ongoing EMS syndrome to boot, and ... she was in the imminent throws of a major laminitic event.
Pudds needed help, big time.
Time to hit the Alleviate/Detox/Fortify switch
In the immediate term I suggested Bioflow magnetic boots to help Pudds’ hinds, and meanwhile I packed Gail off to the ‘Everything’s Wrong’ page, suggesting we look at resetting her whole body back to a blank canvas and rebooted immunity with a full-body detox, via the 'Alleviate, Detox & Fortify' protocol mentioned on the page.
First up, we needed to Alleviate - we had to get her off the Danilon because of the toxic residue effect on her liver, and switch her to our natural TriBute pain/anti-inflammatory blend (the bute equivalent), eventually weaning her down to our DuoBute as ongoing maintenance comfort support. There was no pathway open for healing while her whole body was overburdened with pain, and the stress from the pain .
Next, the Detox – a 1-month/1kg course of our OptimaCARE full-body detox, alongside our GutAminos to repair her no-question-about-it leaky gut, and probiotics to start rebuilding her microbiome. At opposite ends of the day our MetaTonic to help manage her super-high insulin levels, with a view to getting her on our StressTonic once the detox was finished to help ‘normalise’ her stress response with wonderful adaptogen herbs.
Much as I wanted her to feel the benefits of the StressTonic sooner than later, we couldn't risk overegging the formula going into her - this was going to be a marathon, not a sprint. The theory was to get her comfier and address the IR/blood glucose levels to a more balanced, manageable state, then we could begin to rebalance her stress response.
Finally, Fortifying – switching up her feedbowl nutrients to support her whole self thereafter. Gail had already changed her feed brands to Agrobs as the base carrier, into which we now needed to add:
- Minerals! Forage-balanced minerals by way of our EquiVita or VitaComplete ProBPlus range, the ProBPlus option giving her the Yea-Sacc probiotic and the antioxidant vits C&E which are lost in hay.
- Micronised Linseed for the essential fatty acids/EFAs (included in our VitaComplete).
- Salt for the sodium chloride (included in our VitaComplete).
Gail was up for it, and went for it – the only problem was that living in the Channel Islands meant a much slower delivery, not helped by ParcelForce losing her first box, so we sent her another with DPD, then ParcelForce managed to find the lost box, urggh … so it took over a week for her order to get to her.
However, we were off and raring to go.
- Sent: 01 December 2020
“Today not wanting to come out stable, last few days a right angry witch, especially when eating and trying to do her rug straps up. Farrier came this afternoon, reckons she’s full of toxins.”
“The vet has just phoned, absolutely no toxins in her body but her insulin is sky high (we know), she is going to assess her tomorrow on quality of life as she can’t stay on the Danilon forever (we know).”
Back to that "Absolutely no toxins", eh? Pudds absolutely was toxic – not least because she was abscessing and breaking out in sores – it’s what infection is - toxic, pathogenic, bacteria - was this vet nuts?! We knew she couldn't stay on the Danilon forever, but there was another way, if only this vet opened her mind; telling Gail that the only route was PTS was neither kind nor helpful. And as for her sky-high insulin, Gail was already on it, soaking Pudds’ hay and getting her on our MetaTonic with ALCar.
I packed Gail off to read our Metabolic Horse page, so she could counter her vet trying to scare her that Pudds should be PTS. Gail had to ready herself to be strong and say ‘No’ to this bl***y woman. Funny - in my area of Somerset there's a renowned vet who recommends PTS for anything. Every horse owner in the county knows of her reputation, and everyone I know who's had the pleasure of her visits refuses to have her onsite. She's even got a nickname - Killer-K*******e. Last heard of, she'd finally been booted out of the practice. Whatever happened to 'Do No Harm'?
Back to Pudds, and above all, we really needed her vet to step up and stop prescribing a pick-and-mix buffet of chemical pharma drugs that not only weren’t working but were killing off Pudds’ microbiome, gut and immunity system, never mind exhausting her liver, kidneys and lymphatics with their toxic residue. It would also have been nice if she could have actually supported Gail in helping get Pudds better.
I politely suggested to Gail that she tell her vet to bugger off and come back in a month once Pudds had finished done the detox. Just one month … that's all we needed.
For my own personal interest, I also asked Gail to ask her vet that if she didn’t think Pudds had laminitis, what did she think those obvious-giveaway event lines on her hooves were.
“She said, changes in the hoof (no sh*t Sherlock?!) and she’s now concerned that the pedal bone is going to come through" WHOA!!! Hang on – didn’t her vet say no-way was there any laminitis? You don't get a foundering horse if there's no laminitis! "She's also now thinking trapped nerves on spine." OMG, methinks vet’s now clutching at anything she can throw at Gail to scare her. "I have more faith in my farrier than the vet.”
By now my head was in my hands. Whyohwhyohwhy does traditional medicine, traditional healthcare, focus on diagnosing disease only by the geography of the symptoms – where it is in the body and what's the symptom. I know this is the way medical professionals are taught at med school – treat the symptoms - but surely they must know that each disease can have so many different causes. Yet they're all treated uniformally – this drug for this disease, that drug for that disease. Full-stop. I've heard ER doctors say the job's actually 'boring', as in - diagnosis - heart? Yep, these 6 drugs. Diabetes? Yep, these 2-drugs. Never an opportunity to actually look into the pathology of what's really going on deep down ...
With the speed that science is happening, there’s a real paradigm shift going on out there, showing - no, proving - that there's a major fundamental change that’s actually happening in understanding the basic concepts of a scientific discipline of each body system’s biology. Today's science is showing that in fact, every bodily system is connected. Yet sadly, most doctors simply don’t know how to navigate this shift - they're still of the mindset where every part of the body has a different 'ologist' - cardiologist, neurologist, oncologist - with a different pill for every ill, so the only thing that happens is you end up with a whole lot of pills!
The body itself just doesn’t work like this – it’s a fully connected, dynamic eco-system in its own right. Why aren’t these medical professionals focusing on the biology as a whole, instead of getting hooked on the label? Health or disease is one of two things - either balance or imbalance - whether human or horse - existing in these basic, functional, biological networks of the body. A ‘diagnosis’ should simply be the first step in the process of unravelling what’s actually going on deep down. It’s about the Why – why is this happening, and it’s so bluddy sad that these days, the old theory of medicine simply isn’t matching the facts - or the new science - anymore. Bang head on table, rinse, repeat …
Sorry, I went off on one there a bit.
- Sent: 05 December 2020
"Farrier been, that abscess track he found 2 months ago has burst, he said the detox is the best thing for her. He’s taken all shoes off, in case she’s on the verge of going laminitic through the stress."
I think by now I was a little bit in love with her farrier. Brilliant, I replied, that'll be the natural plant antibiotics in the BioCARE kicking the infection into touch and heading it to the nearest exit route. Maybe that was why she doesn't want to walk as well - abscesses are killer-pain.
- Sent: 05 December 2020
"Pudds first detox mean, no Danilon 😁"
WoopWoop! Then I thought, OhOh, perhaps I ought to warn Gail to be aware of a possible Herxheimer's reaction during the detox, which is basically 'feeling worse before feeling better'. In essence a 're-tox' occurs due to an overload of toxins being rounded up and now in a long queue to get out, which makes the host feel a bit - well, a lot – like crap. In humans it usually means an almighty migraine-like headache. I reckoned with the levels of stress and toxins that poor Pudds was overloaded with, there was a very good chance she might suddenly turn into a raging demon.
- Sent: 07 December 2020
"No change this morning carol, still very reluctant to move forward, lifting that hind leg, sitting back off the fronts."