Here is a link that raises an interesting theory.
Basically the article reveals that i.v. injection of dilute hydrochloric acid has been used to cure many types of infections that would otherwise have remained chronic or resulted in death. It appears that our bodies are meant to have hydrochloric acid in them and when we don’t have enough it negatively impacts our immune system.
Interestingly,, additional searching online revealed that (in humans) stress initially increases the amount of hydrochloric acid production (hence stress can cause ulcers), but long-term stress actually reduces HCL production, weakening the immune system.
I was shocked – but fascinated. I do happen to be a firm believer that the body is designed for health and that diet/nutrition – the things we put into our body – are critical to health. Further research on the internet (we are so lucky to have the internet!!) revealed that this theory has other supporters. Another good article is here: http://keelynet.com/biology/hcl.htm
For those who don’t like to read I will say that one result of the injection of HCL, was a significant increase in the number of white blood cells in a very short time. What was even more interesting – to me – was that injection of distilled water had the same effect.
The idea of injecting Hydrochloric acid is scary so I did some more research – on how to increase hydrochloric acid in the body. It was very interesting to find that apple cider vinegar is an excellent way. Could this be one of the reasons that vinegar is so good for us?
Unlike us, horses continually produce hydrochloric acid in their stomachs. However metabolic alkalosis can develop when horse are overexerted, through loss of water and electrolytes in sweating (or by diuretics??). Or – and this is my opinion – due to inadequate minerals in diet. Electrolytes ARE minerals. Also, things that buffer the hydrochloric acid (alfalfa, ulcer remedies, etc.) may affect the immune system negatively by decreasing the hydrochloric acid in the body. Please note: acid buffering substances are only needed due to the unnatural lifestyle of horses.
In short, since the body is such a complex mass of thousands of reactions, processes, etc. and science is far from understanding the human body, let alone that of the equine, it seems best to provide the horse with as natural a lifestyle as possible in order to allow those processes of which we know nothing to take place as nature intended.
Well we’ve had our first physical setback. We definitely went too fast on ground that’s hard as concrete.
Chance came up footsore after our last ride. He also seemed muscle sore in his hindquarters, and he somehow scraped his left hind leg on the outside, midway between the hock and the fetlock, the next day and it was swollen.
The muscle soreness cleared up quickly, but I did put him on MSM. As I’ve mentioned, Pat Coleby recommends 1 teaspoon of sulfur daily. I hadn’t been doing that because the water here is “sulfur water” I was told. Ignorance is bliss. I read an article from TheHorse.com the other day regarding a study done with Standardbreds and MSM. The study indicated that increased MSM (which is an organic form of sulfur) made a big difference in muscle soreness, and performance. So then I wondered which would be better, MSM or “regular sulfur”. In the course of that search I discovered that water that contains sulfur does not smell. Sulfur does not smell. (And in fact, the sulfur that I purchased does not have any smell or taste). What gives water that rotten-egg smell that we associate with sulfur is hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is a poisonous gas, and more importantly is NOT sulfur. Luckily it dissipates when the water is exposed to air, so the horses are not at risk.
So, I have decided to use MSM at the higher dosage stated in the study. My research also revealed that MSM works better when used in conjunction with vitamin C, which I already have, so I am including that as well. Both MSM and vitamin C are water soluble – so excess is excreted.
Being in research mode and stumbling over some information (from Dr. Ann Nyland, whose book was recommended to me) which said sulfur blocks selenium, I decided to check on that. Well, as it turns out, the only reference to that was in regard to goats, who of course are ruminants, and very different from horses. There are so many horses on MSM that if it created a selenium deficiency it’s likely that a connection would have been made by now. However, in checking that out, I discovered that selenium is lost during maximum effort (click here to read more) , and is necessary to avoid muscle soreness and cramping. So, I’m going to pick up some Mega-Sel, which is Selenium and Vitamin E.
I have stopped the Hilton’s Herbs, as I don’t believe treatment should be given for prolonged periods of time, unless a condition is incurable, and his rain rot has been totally gone for weeks. As of yesterday he has been on MSM at 2 tablespoons per day, vitamin C at 1 teaspoon per day, copper at 1 teaspoon per day, cod liver oil at 1 teaspoon per day, raw organic vinegar at 1 teaspoon per day, and flaxseed oil at 2 tablespoons per day. Divided over 3 meals. That may sound like a lot when listed separately, but is nowhere near the number of ingredients in the average vitamin/mineral supplement. In addition he still has access to free-choice loose white salt, loose mineral salt, and kelp. When I get the Mega-Sel, he will be on that as well – at the recommended dosage.
The end result of all this is that Chance is back to normal. His feet no longer appear to be sore, and we will (hopefully) head to the training center tomorrow. If we don’t get any significant rain and the ground remains hard, I may trailer over to the center every other day to gallop him myself. I would still use an exercise rider (Jose) – or perhaps Shelley Moran, the jockey – for works.
Having experienced the frustration of losing 3 days of training – which I have to admit seemed like a week! – it occurred to me that I’m sure little things like this happen at the track all the time. And I bet the vast majority of horses are not given time off to feel better, but are given some Bute, or other drug, and continued in training. In fact, I know that’s true. In fact, horse’s joints are “tapped” (excess fluid is taken out) and injected so they can stay in training. And that is a major thing – inflamed and aggravated joints. And even I, who am against drugs, had it flit across my mind that Bute IS legal. So how easy is it to turn to drugs? Very easy. Very, very easy.
Ditto shoes. I have an email friend in Australia who races horses and is pro-barefoot, but she does shoe at times, so her horses do not get foot sore. And again, for a split second, it crossed my mind. MY mind!!! I was amazed at myself. But it just shows I am human. When something is interfering with our plan we try to find ways to continue on. It gives me good insight into why people are not willing to give up shoeing. No one wants to lose so much as 3 days.
Rode Money Talkin last night. At 7:30 it was still hot and humid. I remembered to check his respiratory rate, and used the timer on my GPS. Before saddling, due to the humidity, his breathing rate was already at 25. That is not normal for him – it was only due to the weather. If he had been sweaty I wouldn’t have ridden him.
Because of the weather we did a combo of walk, trot, gallop for 1.5 miles. The GPS is really handy. Chance trots (and it’s a comfortable trot, not especially fast for him) at over 9 mph. Our gallop was slightly over 17 mph. I want to make it clear that I do not ask him to go, I ask him to go slow. He would prefer to go faster. My legs are not quite elastic enough yet to handle sharp turns at speed – or any sudden moves for that matter – so I don’t want to go faster than I can safely handle. He’s very smooth and seems to have a long stride. I wish I had a longer straight stretch as I would like to go faster myself. I really had forgotten how much I love to go fast. I completely forget I’m 59 as we go along – I feel just like I did when I was young.
After work, Chance’s breathing rate was up to 60 per minute, but by 10 minutes it was back to the 25 we started at. I have to say I am impressed by the fact that he doesn’t get any lather or even clear sweat between his legs, just slightly damp, and really has very few sweaty spots, just a little on the neck, and the flanks. So he is fairly fit.
I’m also happy to see muscle building up on his inner thighs, his shoulders, chest, and back. His ribs are still slightly visible – which I want at this point – but it’s cool to see his back building up. I credit this to his using it, as he gallops with his head low – I would say at wither level – though I am too busy looking ahead and cajoling him to keep a slow pace to be exact.
My trust in him continues to grow and I now feel confident when I ride him that he won’t try to run off just because he feels good. The “turns” have worked perfectly and made things much easier.
As long as this weather continues, I am only going to work him every other day. I want to build him up, not wear him down. This is where being out 24/7 really helps. Walking is exercise and he gets quite a bit of it, and I do hear them running at night sometimes as well.
The weather also has me concerned about his potassium levels. I can sometimes see the white, salty, evidence of sweat on his coat, and even more so on Zola’s. So I have ordered some 50/50 potassium chloride/sodium chloride to offer free choice. (They already have plain loose salt, and loose mineral salt available free choice, along with the kelp).
I need to get Coggins tests and health certificates for both Money Talkin and Zola, so that I can haul to the Thoroughbred Center. Zola isn’t working yet, but it’s my plan to get her used to hauling out, seeing new things, and getting exposed to the hustle and bustle of the track.
I don’t post every time I exercise so anyone interested in the details can find them on the website by clicking here or using the Training Record link under the calendar, to the left.
This worries me a little, although it could be a good thing.
A few days ago I noticed that there was some pink skin showing in the grey, crusty, scabby looking portion of the sarcoid. Thinking maybe he scraped it on something (he is a walking scrape!) I put some Blu-Kote on it.
Today I noticed there are other pink spots. They look like normal skin. I hope that’s what they are.
I have had him on flax seed oil for a while, which is supposed to be very good for getting rid of tumors. Could it be working? Could it be the copper is finally starting to overcome a deficiency? Could it be the kelp and dolomite? Or a combination of all of it?
Hopefully this is a good thing. It’s overcast today, I’ll take photos next time it’s sunny.
The Hiltons Herbs came yesterday and I started Chance on them today.
The purpose is to build his immune system.
He ate them without a problem, in his normal breakfast meal.
I have been mixing together kelp and dolomite and putting it out daily – free choice – for the horses. All 15 of them.
I mix up about 8 cups of kelp and 4 tablespoons of dolomite then put it out in the “dry lot” where the horses spend the day. ( The dry lot is not really a dry lot, there is enough grass in there for light grazing.) Every day it is all gone by 8:00 pm. I know that Zola and Money Talkin eat it, and I have seen Bettina eating it as well. Not sure if everyone is having some, but I’m pretty sure that Bettina, Money Talkin, and Zola are not eating all of it.
In addition, I feed Zola and Money Talkin 1.5 cups of sweet feed/oats mix, with copper and vitamin C, twice daily. They are not very hungry, as it’s hot, and of course they get all the grass they want. Because of that I only put 1/4 teaspoon of copper in each feed, and 1/2 teaspoon of vitamin C.
Pat Coleby recommends feeding sulfur also, but since the horses’ water is sulfur water, I don’t include extra sulfur in their diets.
Am trying to think what I can use to mix with the copper so that I can offer it free choice. Not something too tasty – and it has to be pretty neutral dietarily.
I’m not sure if it’s related to the kelp – but the face flies have been significantly less these past several days. Really significantly.
I try to make Sunday a day of rest for horses, so I didn’t ride then. Monday we had a thunderstorm, and also Tuesday. I rode on Wednesday and found myself much more fit than just a few days before. Not fit, but getting there. I figure serious training will start in a week to 10 days – by then I should be able to at least gallop a mile. From there, we’ll get fit together. I will say that though it was hot and humid – in the 80′s – Chance wasn’t very sweaty, just a little on the chest, but not between his legs. One has to wonder how much of that is due to 24/7 turnout. I have exercised horses more fit than Chance, in less heat, and they have been more sweaty. I have seen him be more sweaty so I know he does sweat.
Yesterday – Thursday – I didn’t ride because I was sore, and I also figured going every other day for a while will give us both a chance to get used to work. If am sore just from riding, I have to wonder how Chance feels carrying weight after 7 months off. Especially considering I weigh 160, and I am galloping in a normal English forward seat saddle that must weigh at least 10 pounds, plus pad, etc.
In preparation for shipping in to the Thoroughbred Training Center to work, I’ve had to order a real exercise saddle, pad, and saddle cloths. The saddle is a half-tree saddle which was very reasonably priced. The saddle pad is black felt with leather in high wear areas (the saddle is also black), and the saddle cloths are being made and they will be in our colors – white with green trim.
Because of the flies – persistent even after I used Absorbine repellent wipes – I’ve ordered a fly veil, which is supposed to arrive today. It’s like the ones used by Grand Prix jumpers, crocheted with fringe, and I’m hoping it will be large enough that the fringe will be long.
At this point Chance has another case of rain rot. This time on his butt. It is improving, but I was surprised at how widespread it was. One has to wonder at how compromised his immune system was when I got him.
I just read (Equus July 2010) that research has been done in Scotland on horses using equipment to measure the amount of ammonia in their exhalations. Stalled horses – those whose stalls were normal and appeared clean with no ammonia smell – still had ammonia in the air they exhaled, whereas pastured horses did not. The ammonia causes a significant increase in the pH of the airway. Add one more thing to the list of risks to confined horses. Also just read that 90% of racehorses have ulcers. So I have to assume that Chance had ulcers when he arrived.
Hopefully this bout of rain rot will be the last.
I’m pretty sure, from everything I’ve read that this is a sarcoid.
Without the Blue Kote stain, it’s dry, brownish, rough and hairless. I measured it today and the purple area is 2″ long (diagonally) and the whole thing is 3 1/4″ long (diagonally).
There is some staining of the hair below the purple area, but it is not raised – even though it appears to be. The raised area is above the purple. (see photo below) According to what I’ve read, there is a tumor under the skin. Hence the feeding of fenugreek and garlic. When fed in combination they are known to reduce or get rid of tumors.
It does seem to me to be improving, but now that there’s a record of it, I will be able to tell for sure.
It doesn’t appear to be painful at all. He doesn’t mind me touching, rubbing, or poking at it.
There is an excellent book on herbs for horses titled, Modern Horse Herbal, by Hilary Page Self. It was recommended to me by one of my clients, and I just got it.
Concerned about the growth/patch on Chance’s left front leg, I looked up sarcoid treatment. There were several herbs listed, but fenugreek struck me since another of my clients once told me her horse loved fenugreek. According to the book, fenugreek is known to get rid of tumors, especially when fed with garlic. So I went to my favorite website for herbs (Herbalcom.com) and ordered some of both.
They arrived yesterday. I fed some to Chance, in a little grain with some water, just a little while ago and he devoured it! Hopefully I’ll see some changes in the spot on his leg. It does seem to be getting a tiny bit smaller from treating it every other day with Blue Kote, but not sure if that’s just because it makes it so dark. I will try to remember to measure across it for comparison.
Reading Pat Coleby’s book, Natural Horse Care, was a revelation for me. I reference it frequently – because I can’t remember it all – and find new things each time.
I have noticed over the past few years that Bettina’s coat (never good) has looked drier and drier, and also that her eyes have had a nearly constant discharge. These are signs of worms, as many know, but the horses are wormed 3 times a year at least, and I do rotate wormers. Plus no one else has a bad coat. I don’t think she has worms. I do notice that when she gets magnesium (from the dolomite) her eyes get much better, but her coat is still very dry and staring. Pat says in her book that both those symptoms can be caused by a vitamin A deficiency, as well as possibly a vitamin D deficiency (staring coat). Vitamin D is likely to be deficient if a horse is not exposed to enough sunlight, and both vitamins A and D can be deficient if horses don’t get enough “green” feed (meaning grass, etc.)
Now, Bettina has been exposed to sunlight the past 7 years (although 5 of those were in Washington state, so was she getting as much as a horse needs? I don’t know – I know I wasn’t) but she hasn’t had much real green feed. Yes, she had minimal grass in WA, and 5 months of green grass here in Kentucky. But is that enough to overcome a deficiency that may have started when she was 18 months old and went into race training? Since then she has no doubt spent a good amount of time stalled and without green feed. It makes sense to me that real deficiencies can take years to build up.
Anyway, to make a long story short, I decided to put her on A & D via cod liver oil (1 teaspoon daily) along with vitamin C, and vinegar (for potassium). I used about 1 cup of grain to mix them in. To my amazement she dove right into it and cleaned up every bit! This despite the fact that the cod liver oil smells very strongly of fish, the vitamin C is sour, and we all know what vinegar tastes like. But she acted like she couldn’t get enough.
So, since Money Talkin has been stalled for the majority of his life, I decided to add a “breakfast” of the same thing to his diet. And he licked the bucket clean as well. I don’t think Zola has any deficiencies yet, as she is young and has been out in the sun and on green grass for virtually all of her life. ( The body produces it’s own vitamin D from sunlight.)
It will be interesting to see what happens with Bettina’s coat, as well as Chance’s which hasn’t been great.