Chinese Herbs for Horses
Chinese herb uses - Chinese herbal therapy can be used alone or in combination with acupuncture. Herbs tend to be used long term for chronic conditions short-term for acute conditions. For example, a horse recovering from a ligament strain may be on an herb for 3-6 months. On the other hand, a horse with a life-long condition such as arthritis may receive life-long treatment.
Chinese herb formulation - Chinese herbs are rarely used individually as Western herbs often are. Most Chinese herbs are used combined into a standardized herbal formula. Formulas usually contain 2 -18 herbs.
- A formula is chosen for the patient according to his/her Chinese medicine diagnosis. For example, 3 horses with heaves may each be treated with a different herbal formula. In Western medicine all 3 horses with heaves would likely be receiving the same medicine.
- If you were to read the ingredient list on any given formula, you may recognize some ingredients such as ginger or cinnamon. Other ingredients would be unrecognizable (and unpronounceable) for the average American! Most ingredients in these commonly used formulas are derived from plants. Some are mineral or animal based.
Feeding Chinese herbs to horses - Herbs for horses are available in powder form and are top-dressed on the feed. They are also available in a flax base which increases palatability and adds fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Ordering Chinese herbs - Prescription herbs are chosen by Dr. Michelle at the time of a veterinary consultation for a specific horse.
An example of successful Chinese herb treatment was a patient named Cody who was diagnosed with Pemphigus foliaceus an auto-immune disease of the skin. Cody was diagnosed with this disease in his early teens. This means that his immune system began to react against his own skin causing large blisters which would itch and burn. Without Chinese medicine Cody would have needed continual use of steroids to manage his condition. Cody never needed steroids because his owner decided to try acupuncture and herbs first. Initially, Cody was treated with acupuncture four times. He was placed an a Chinese herb and managed for over ten years with a prescription herb. Diseases of the immune system tend to respond very well to acupuncture and Chinese herbs. This includes hyperimmune diseases/allergic conditions like heaves.