Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nix the Garlic

Thank you, Everyone, for your helpful suggestions about Silk and her allergies. I got a comment from Ann about how garlic might be dangerous for horses, so I went on-line and investigated it. I found a good article on EquiSearch that made me decide that I wouldn't risk trying it. So, an extra big hug to Ann for alerting me!

It's so interesting how easy it is to upset the delicate balance of your horse's health. I did consider other possibilities with Silk's itching, like something in the pasture or in the hay. I soaked their hay for a while to see if it helped. In the end, I really do believe it's the gnats. She had a similar reaction to the blackflies last fall. I see the little buggers flying around her, so I am pretty convinced that they are the problem.

I'm also very wary of giving my horses any herbs or supplements without consulting a vet. A couple of winters ago, the girls started chewing on the wood fence in the corral. I fed them this product from a very well-known equine company that was supposed to control the problem. It worked, but I had a terrifying experience with Silk. One morning, she collapsed on top of me when I opened the door to her stall to feed her. It was a nightmare that was never really resolved. The vet came out and Silk's heartbeat was muffled. We rushed her to the equine hospital and did all kinds of tests. The closest answer the vet could come up with was that this supplement had a lot of electrolytes in it and might have thrown her electrolyte balance off.

The lesson it taught me is that a call to my vets is free and always welcomed by them. I vowed never to give the horses anything without checking with them first. I am grateful that Ann reminded me of that before I added anything new to their menu.

8 comments:

Grey Horse Matters said...

Well you are right to check with your vets before administering any thing new. I'm sure it is most likely the gnats or other insect bites that are responsible for her hives and rashes. One thing to consider though, we have a horse Nate(an accident looking for a place to happen) who is highly allergic and also has asthma and respiratory problems at times. We had the vet do an allergy test on him and it turns out he was allergic to things in his feed like flax and timothy hay etc. so if the gnat crisis doesn't resolve itself it probably wouldn't hurt to have her tested for allergies. Just a thought. I know we would all like to help her but it's just our opinions, the vet and you will know best what to do for her.

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks, Arlene - I will consider having her tested if this continues. Luckily, it doesn't seem to be a respiratory, only skin condition. I got great advice from all of you - your website recommendations were excellent. And I also got the wake-up call not to do what I did before and leap into a diet change with the garlic and herbs before I checked with the vet. I'd hate to have to learn that lesson again!

Rising Rainbow said...

I hadn't heard about problems with garlic. But then figuring out what is and isn't good in feed can take a rocket scientist, I think. It's really a delicate balance and for each horse it can be different. I hope you get something figured out to give her some relief.

Transylvanian horseman said...

We see sweet itch here frequently, caused by gnats that thrive in the damp climate. Some people cover affected horses from head to tail with special rugs, and I gather that these are quite effective. I'd be tempted to try a strong insect repellant such as citronella on the affected areas. It can be spread on the mane and tail without rubbing it into the skin. However, as you rightly note, do check how she reacts to a new substance.

LJB said...

It's definitely bug season here, too. I remembered that last year I used plain ole vaseline on the horses most bothered. Both as a prevention and as a soother, I slather it on their bellies, under the chins, on their tail heads.

I generally leave the horses to do their mutual grooming and hang around head to tail and such, but when they start rubbing their tail heads raw, that bothers me. Maybe more than it bothers them, but still, I start doing something when I see them starting the tail rubbing routine.

Pony Girl said...

I had just asked my sister about garlic, and thought I'd research it for my gelding, who is buggy, too. But I heard that it was controversial. Similar to adults taking herbs, they work for some people, but others are hesitant, and you especially need to watch the dosages and combinations. I think I will avoid it for now, too. My horse is too sensitive as it is, don't need to add to the issues!

ahmad wiyono said...

Great blog! Keep up the good work

Gecko said...

I had no idea garlic could be harmful to horses. My neighbour swears by it for allergies. I've only had a skim over an article about it so far, but you never know how your horse is going to react to anything. =(

A lot of people look down apon me because my horses are 'ferals'...which I'll be the first to admit that they are. They go to the mountains in the winter, never get rugged or fed extras unless their paddocks are lacking. But the natural way has worked for a lot of years around here so you can't beat it! I just hope Silk's allergy is something simple and easy to cure/manage! =)