Spirulina (Blue-Green Algae) for Horses

Have you heard of spirulina?  It’s a blue-green algae superfood that is useful for a variety of equine (as well as human and other animal) conditions, and I always try to keep some on hand.  Named for its unique, spiral shape, spirulina has been around for about 3.6 billion years.  I learned about it in my equine nutrition courses with Dr. Eleanor Kellon a few years ago and have since used it with a couple of my horses for lung allergy issues.

 

spirulina2

 

Spirulina is probably best known for its ability to boost the immune system.  It’s high in protein (55-70%), vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.  According to Dr. Kellon, it’s been shown “to specifically improve the production of IgG antibodies, while down-regulating allergies associated with IgA antibody responses.” (IgG and IgA antibodies are two of the five types of pathogen-fighting antibodies found in mammals.)

The health benefits of spirulina are many–and are backed by mainstream research.  Here are a few equine conditions that spirulina supplementation can be beneficial for:

  • Heaves/ COPD/ Asthma
  • Seasonal respiratory allergies
  • Hives and other skin allergies
  • Sweet Itch (Summer Eczema)
  • Poor immune function

So where do you buy spirulina?  You can find it in many health food stores or order it online.  But always make sure to buy spirulina (or any herb) from a reputable company (do your research!)  In her book, Horse Journal: Guide to Equine Supplements and Nutraceuticals, Dr. Kellon recommends Herbalcom as well as Horse Tech.  I prefer to buy spirulina in powder form, but it is offered in a wafer form for horses as well.

 

spirulina

 

Spirulina powder is dark green and has a silky texture.  It’s not the most palatable of supplements, but you can mix it in your feed to get your horse to eat it.  If he won’t eat it in the feed, you can try mixing it in honey, applesauce, or distilled water and syringing it in his mouth.

The recommended dose for spirulina powder is 20 grams (1 oz.) or 10 wafers twice per day for a 1,000 pound horse.  You will need to start with a smaller amount and work your way up to the 20 grams though.  (Spirulina can also be combined with 2500 mg of Jiaogulan twice per day for horses with heaves.)

It may take up to four weeks to see results with Spirulina, so be patient and stick with it!  If your horse suffers from seasonal allergies every year, you will want to start him on spirulina about a month before the symptoms tend to show up.

Use caution feeding spirulina or any other immune-boosting herb with a severely ill or debilitated horse as it may do more harm than good–check with a holistic veterinarian in a situation like this.

 

Ta-ta!

 

Sources:

Your Guide to Natural Horse Spirulina

Horse Journal: Guide to Equine Supplements and Nutraceuticals

Casie

Hi! My name is Casie Bazay. I'm a mom, a freelance writer, and a certified equine acupressure practitioner.

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10 Responses

  1. Horse are non-ruminant herbivores of a kind known as a “hindgut fermenter.” This implies that horses have only one abdomen, as do people. So your details really beneficial for me.

  2. Spirulina says:

    Wow, never heard of feeding Spirulina fed to horses or other animals. I wonder if it is okay to feed to dogs or cats?

    • then5925 says:

      I don’t know about cats, but I do know it can be fed to dogs. What’s good for us is often good for animals as well!

  3. Kelvin says:

    I am very interested in this article about Spiralina. Have you heard of a product called Spirulive, I don’t know much about it, but must be similar?

    • then5925 says:

      Hi Kelvin– Sorry, I have not heard of Spirulive. It does sound similar though. I would think the ingredients should say if it’s a spirulina product though.

  4. penny says:

    Hi can I feed spirulina to a made in foal . my mare coughs when in her stable but seems to be more when im working her, drives me crazy, I whether hay feed keep stable clean and she’s on bedsoft so dust free, I need something that will help her.
    I have spoken to the vet will know more next week.

    • Casie says:

      Hi Penny, I’m not a nutritionist or vet, but according to Dr. Getty (who is a nutritionist), it’s completely safe for pregnant mares. It’s an all natural product (from blue-green algae) so I wouldn’t have any concerns.

  5. Chantal says:

    Hi, my horse coughs a lot and is on a natural supplement that contains various herbs. My farrier suggested I try him on spirulina. My question is whether there are any herbs it should not be combined with? These are the herbs contained in the supplement he is already getting (which helps manage the coughing, but not as much as I’d like): •Eriobotryae japonic •Bulbus fritillaria thunbergii, Polygala tenuifolia •Rosemary •Scutellaria biancalensis – Momordica grosvenori •Honey suckle •Chrysanthemum morifolium •Morus alba • Peppermint
    •Eucalyptus leaves •Mullein •Pleurissy root • Elecampane •Nettles •Menthol

  1. November 30, 2013

    […] blue-green algae (spirulina) […]

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