The threat of illness and/or disease is always a concern for horse owners, but the good news is that all animals (including us) have a built-in natural form of protection. It’s called the immune system. Consisting of a collection of bodily structures and functions, the immune system’s job is to fight against viral, bacterial, and other potentially harmful invaders.
When functioning properly, the immune system can easily identify threats and work to fight against them. However, problems arise when the immune system becomes compromised due to a lack of proper nutrition, toxins, or other factors. A weakened immune system simply can’t stand up to threats like it was designed to do.
The following are some important ways we can support our horse’s natural defense mechanisms.
While some stress is normal, especially for prey animals such as the horse, too much stress weakens the immune system. Here are a few tips for keeping it to a minimum:
- Keep your horse with other horses or at least one companion animal such as a goat;
- Limit or eliminate stall confinement;
- Ensure your horse always has quality forage available;
- Make sure your horse gets plenty of movement either in the pasture or through riding or other forms of exercise; and
- Work to identify underlying sources of pain and address it on an ongoing basis, especially for older horses.
Provide a Horse-Healthy Diet
A species appropriate diet is always important for good health. Feed your horse a forage-based diet, based on quality grass hay. Ensure salt, vitamin, and mineral needs are met and always provide clean, fresh water. This can go a long ways in keeping the immune system functioning properly.
Reduce Exposure to Toxins
Most toxins are invisible invaders which can easily slip under the radar, so it’s important we be aware and eliminate them whenever possible. For example, vaccines, chemical dewormers, and pharmaceutical drugs can overburden the immune system, so use these judiciously.
By feeding organic or non-GMO products whenever possible, you can reduce your horse’s exposure to harmful pesticides and herbicides. Using natural fly sprays and other naturally derived grooming products will also reduce your horse’s exposure to toxins.
Supplement with Immune Boosters
Certain nutrients and herbs naturally support the immune system and are great to add to your horse’s diet when you feel an additional boost is needed. Our Immunoboost powder is formulated to strengthen the horse’s immune system while also boosting the immune response to toxins and pathogens in the body. We strongly recommend this product for performance horses and older horses to maintain a healthy immune system during periods of stress.
Vyrex is another immune-supporting supplement we offer as part of our signature herbal line. This supplement works as a preventative, naturally supporting the immune system and consists of a blend of organic herbs, including garlic, fenugreek, echinacea, eleuthero, and astragalus.
Nature has provided the horse with its own protective system, but as horse owners, it’s our job to ensure that system stays healthy and strong!