Detoxing Your Horse
Detox. It’s one of those things you hear a lot about, but does it really work? I’ll admit that I’ve been a bit of a skeptic in the past, but I recently began a detox program, and I am definitely a believer now. Let me back up just a bit though– you might be wondering why I needed a detox in the first place.
Last spring, it was obvious I was experiencing a health crisis of some kind. This is when I sought out a naturopathic doctor. After several tests, it was revealed that my hormones were way out of whack and my thyroid antibodies were abnormally high (among other things). I was experiencing many of the classic symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
I began an in-depth protocol which would ensure I was getting plenty of vitamins and minerals (especially selenium and Vitamin D), and he also started me on several immune-boosting herbal supplements. I felt better and then I felt worse, and things flip-flopped like that for a while. It wasn’t until several months later, when I got into the second month of this detox program that I seemed to hit a turning point. I almost feel like my normal self again. What a relief!
So for today’s post, I’d like to talk about some of the signs of toxicity in horses (which you may also notice in yourself), as well as which natural ingredients or herbs may be helpful in ridding the body of these agents.
Just like us, horses are able to handle a certain level of toxins, but sadly, in today’s environment, it’s easy to become ‘overloaded’. Stress, chemicals in feed or sprayed on hay, vaccines, antibiotics and other medications, chemical dewormers, and environmental toxins, among other things can all lead to toxin overload.
The liver, kidneys, lymphatic system, blood, respiratory system, and even skin all work together to naturally detoxify the body, but they can get clogged, in a sense, by one or a combination of the above and may need help at times.
Some signs of toxicity in horses include:
- allergic reaction
- dry, dull coat
- sparse mane and tail
- dull or cloudy eyes
- low energy; lethargy
- mood changes
- recurrent colic
- hooves with rings or ridges
- skin issues (dry, scaly, hives, lumps, etc)
- chronic diarrhea
- inability to sweat
- mood changes
Now, I’m not going to promote any particular brand of detox program, but I will tell you about several herbs and naturally-derived ingredients which do have detoxification properties. You can feed them alone, or combine them for a better effect. There are several companies which sell detox blends–just do your research!
The following all have detoxification properties though:
- apple cider vinegar
- zeolites (volcanic minerals)
- bentonite clay
- milk thistle
- dandelion root
- Nux Vomica (homeopathic remedy)
In addition, massage and acupressure (or acupuncture) can be used to further aid in detox. Massage stimulates the lymphatic system and aids in detoxification through the kidneys. Specific acupressure points such as Liver 3 can do the same.
Once you’ve finished a detox protocol with your horse, it is recommended to boost the immune system with either herbs or specific antioxidants (this can actually be done before and throughout the detox). By this time, the body should be able to work its own magic and heal.
Sources and Further Reading
Does Your Horse Need to Detox (Equine Wellness Magazine)