Nutri Health “A Radical Solution”

by Dr. Dan Moore, The Natural Vet®

For horses, pets, and people nutrition and preventative health have never been more important than today. Imagine 100 horses in a herd exposed to influenza, some will get sick and some won’t-why? Imagine 100 people exposed to anthrax, some will get sick, some won’t-why? I know it is scary to think about either situation, but similar scenarios are actually occurring right now in each of our bodies. The battle is health versus sickness. This battle never stops. It is constantly raging and we are the effect of it. Or could we really be the cause of it? If everything were well and wonderful everyday then I imagine we would be well and wonderful but I think that it goes without saying that that is impossible!

Stress is a major cause of illness but how does this relate to our horses? First let’s define a working definition of stress. My way to describe stress, right or wrong, is “being the effect of something or someone you feel you have no control over”. Anybody stressed lately? Unfortunately for our equine friends stress is a part of life. Showing, trailering, training, breeding, it seems there is always stress in horses’ lives. But, since they ARE at the effect of us it is our responsibility to keep them “less stressed” lest they will get sick. Let’s face it, though, we can’t quit showing, performing, trailing and breeding etc. etc. I guess some of us could just be professional petters, myself included, but these guys really prefer to work right? Probably just keeping them in a stall and not letting them perform or work is the most major stress of all. So with reason let’s assume we keep going about our normal business. But are there other ways we stress our horses though without knowing it?

I absolutely think that we inadvertently stress our animals everyday, and the bad thing is we do so with the best of intentions. Take vaccinations for instance, are they really that important? Most folks in the “real world” would argue YES, but I have to ask myself, could the cure be worse than the disease, especially if the disease is very, very rare? And what if the disease were treatable anyway and what if I could prevent it with good nutrition including antioxidants? What long term effects could these vaccinations have? I ask these seemingly ridiculous questions because I think our horses have changed for the worse since my 21 years in practice. I believe they are weaker today, less resistant than in the early 80’s and just seem to have much more cancer, colic, founder, pulmonary disease, allergies etc. So I question: WHAT HAS CHANGED? A good example of this change is EPM. Why after million of years does the horse suddenly have a problem with possum manure? I don’t claim to have the answers to this but I have some theories.

Certainly we do vaccinate much more than when I first started practice. We didn’t even vaccinate for rabies then, but then one or two horse came down with it and whammo … millions vaccinated. The same was true for Encephalitis and Strangles and now West Nile and even EPM, with provisional vaccines, no less, that may or may not even work when all the facts are gathered. Have you ever vaccinated a horse for influenza and it later came down with it? How about vaccinated for Strangles and in a few short weeks it was leaking pus all over the barn? How about, heaven forbid, Rhino and the mares later aborted. I have – plenty of times. In fact, so much so that now I don’t vaccinate at all. We have about 30 Rocky Mountain Horses and we are vaccine free for almost four years now – and we very seldom get sick horses. No more abortions after horse show exposure. No more strangles, knock on wood! Our horses are just healthier!

Another thing I don’t do is deworm every 2-3 months.. Foreign substances like deworming chemicals and vaccinations just confuse the bodies’ healing mechanisms to where it has no clue what is supposed to be part of the body and what is not. It seems to just start reacting to everything. Take for instance the allergy tests on those horses with hives. Every one of them I have seen the results on seem to come back allergic to everything. Like hay, grass, dust etc. – you know, those things you can’t keep horses away from anyway. The best you can do in most of these cases is wet the hay right? Anyone have a horse sensitive to flies? Come on, horses are supposed to live with flies not break out in sores and hives. What has changed? The answer to deworming, by the way, is to simply check to see if they even have worms before deworming. All horse don’t have worms – we check hundreds of samples in our office. TRUE all horses are exposed to worms but guess what? SOME ARE RESISTANT, or so it seems! In my early years of practice we used to always check first with a fecal sample because we had to pass that nose tube and that was potentially risky business. That was a “known” risk, I believe an unknown risk is even worse. Could it be that overzealous use of pastes could be just as risky? Worse yet are daily dewormers! I have no doubt that some day we will have super worms that are resistant to everything! Daily dewormers are not helping. Paying for a colic surgery is a great marketing strategy, especially if it keeps you using drugs and chemicals, isn’t it? I know I am stepping on toes here but it may be time to reevaluate. This is tough when one has blinders on and just follows the norm without question. I understand and I could be completely wrong, BUT….Understand too, that I used to make my living as a “conventional” veterinarian using vaccinations, steroids, antibiotics and other such routine stuff. How could I have made such a drastic change?

Thank goodness mainstream is now changing too! For example, small animal practitioners are being advised to no longer vaccinate just by the “calendar”, ie yearly, but to consider the individual needs and actual likelihood of exposure. True, this is very controversial, but a real step in the right direction. Such recommendations will be forthcoming for equines as well, but my concern is that all the fear about the “new diseases” will greatly hinder this coming. A major equine publication just last year quoted “Looming Disaster with Our Current Deworming Practices” siting such concerns as chemical toxicity and the resistance factor I already mentioned. But then another major equine magazine said Garlic was potentially toxic because they didn’t know the difference between an onion and garlic! So go figure! Bottom line is, it is our responsibility, not the industry’s in general, to do what is right for our horse. Everybody has their own agenda. In the later Garlic article, by the way, if you questioned it, you were referred you to a major university toxicology hotline. It cost $45 for a consultation. While you waited for the veterinarian, the recording attempted to sell you a book on Natural Toxins in horses. I paid the $45 for a search on garlic toxicity – never had they had a reported case, plus, with ALL their research material at hand, they could not find one substantiated reference to garlic toxicity –Onions yes (5 pounds), Garlic NO! For your listening pleasure, my recorded conversation can be heard on our website The $45 was worth it and it did go to a good cause I am sure, but I didn’t buy the book. I apologize for being so sarcastic here but Horse and Rider just blew that one in my opinion. Such a shame for such a good magazine!

So we have talked about vaccinations and deworming – what about these “non toxic” chemicals? You know the kind for flies and such, that you, too, breathe each time you spray them or spot them on. Sure these substances are “nontoxic” but what about subtoxic? After all, “toxic” is the amount of the chemical or substance that is needed to kill an animal or person. What about the subtoxic effects that might increase viral and bacterial infections by weakening the immune system “function”, ie lowering the white blood cell count, slowing white blood cell movement, destroying the mechanisms the white blood cells use to locate and destroy virus and bacterial cells, etc. What about lowering production of the essential immune system regulator interferon or weakening or damaging antibody production? One such chemical on the market today is 65% permethrin. You can’t use any amount on you and you sure can’t use malathion, lindane or even furacin – that yellow stuff for wounds – but it is OK for equines! By the way, PLEASE read the label on furacin – it has carcinogenic warnings all over it. Again, I used to use it by the gallons. So please understand I am not being critical, I guess I am just trying desperately to spread the message that “if there is an alternative, find it and use it”. And if you can’t find it …. Keep looking! Please .. we as practitioners don’t heal anything, none of us do, the best we can do is trigger the body to heal itself. It is as simple as that! The problem with so many drugs and chemicals is that they so badly confuse the bodies’ healing by taking over, leaving only another problem to deal with from the compounding effect of NEVER having been healed in the first place. I hope this makes sense and I hope you will help me keep looking.

Diets that we feed our horses are another major factor in preventative health. Our horses did not eat grain in the wild, especially so much corn. Why do we have to add so much molasses to their feeds? Perhaps because they don’t like the feed? Or is it because it is really not good for them? Corn, for instance, has the same glycemic index as sugar. In other words, a tablespoon of corn has the same effect as a tablespoon of sugar. Molasses essentially is a sugar. Just imagine the blood glucose rising after the first meal of the day. Now imagine the blood sugar crashing to a low level. Herein lies the problem- a sugar low equals “starving” to the horses’ metabolism. The metabolic system does all it can to get the blood glucose back up. The pancreas, adrenals, thyroid, all kick in. These glands literally are worn out by the vicious cycle day after day of high and low sugar levels. Imagine asking your horse to act while on a sugar low. This is probably the number one cause of moody and hyper horses. I also believe this daily metabolic stress is the reason we have so much founder and colic today. Even when a minor stress comes along they have no reserves left, because of the weakened adrenals and thyroid. The weak links are the gut and the feet, hence colic or founder. This same scenario even happens to dogs and cats. Have you seen the amount of corn in pet foods lately? Based on the number of doughnut shops, bagel shops and high fructose soda pop machines around, a lot of people are destroying their “stress resistance” with carbohydrates and sugar, too. The answer for people is 25 grams of protein first thing in the morning with fresh flax oil or virgin olive oil (two tablespoons). The answer for horses is a good oil top dressed on the grain which slows the absorption on the grain and prevents the high spiking sugar levels in the first place. I don’t use flax oil in horses only because I find it difficult to maintain the freshness. Rancid or spoiled oil is worse. And heaven forbid if you know anyone using corn oil, alias syrup, please suggest they stop! For horses I prefer a mixture of soybean and coconut oil. Our brand is called H2Oil, Hoof and Health Oil. Despite what you read in the press, coconut is both good for both man and beast. My favorite grain to top dress it on is oats.

What else can we do to tip the scale to the side of wellness? Use antioxidants! They are the scavengers of sickness, the buzzards that clean up all the messes in our bodies; the rustolium that prevents the rust in the first place, or better yet that which stops the rust dead in its tracks! The rust, or oxidation, is what turns the apple brown when you cut it in half. It is oxygen gone bad, free radicals bombarding everything it finds. Bottom line, if you want your animal friends to live longer and healthier lives, give antioxidants daily and take them yourself. It’s already been proven that antioxidants are beneficial. It has been since the 60’s. Every day our animal friends, as well as ourselves, are bombarded with pollutants. We eat them. We drink them. We breathe them. Even horse feed (not to mention our food) has pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, etc. in it! Water has chlorine, trihalomethanes, alum, lime, and potassium permanganates just to name a few! My goodness, just smell the air as you travel down the polluted highway. I believe you get my “drift”!

If I only had one thing that I could do to help tip the scale to wellness it would have to be to use the antioxidant and natural “antibiotic” Garlic. It is an awesome antioxidant, a tremendous source of sulfur for the body and a tremendous bug powder when mixed with the a few other ingredients. Sulfur is one of the most basic substances needed to rejuvenate tissue. Do you know that at one time garlic was used successfully to prevent polio? It was also found to be a more potent antibiotic than penicillin, ampicillin, doxycyline, streptomycin, and cephalexin- some of the very same drugs used to treat Anthrax. It was even effective against some strains of E. coli, staph and other micro organisms. [Fitoterapia Vol 5, 1984] Other sulfur-bearing antioxidants, Alpha lipoic acid, N-acetyl Cysteine, Taurine, and Vitamin C have been shown to elevate levels of Glutathione. This, too, is a potent antioxidant and also has been shown to counter the toxicity produced by anthrax.[Molecular Medicine, November 1994; Immunopharmacology, January2000; Applied Environmental Microbiology, August 1979; Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health]. And don’t forget Grapeseed Extract, one of the most potent antioxidants known to man.

Well, I guess if you are still reading this you are either ready to shoot me, you are saying, “yea”, or maybe “boy, that guy is nuts!” Regardless, I ask you one more thing… if you are not familiar with homeopathy, I suggest you please check it out. It, in it’s truest form, is the answer to our situation today. And yes, there are even remedies for symptoms of anthrax, smallpox, radiation exposure, plague, etc. Though there are new strains now the symptoms these diseases produce are nothing new. They were here last century and often treated successfully with homeopathic remedies, even then. I for one won’t be lining up for vaccination – but I will be doing everything I can to help my body help itself. The correctly chosen homeopathic remedy simply triggers the body to do just that – heal itself. But it goes without saying that all healing depends upon good nutrition. If the body doesn’t have the nutrition it needs, it is like a car without the gas, it simply won’t run. What do you say… Let’s keep running! See you at the races! Hope this helps!.


Dan Moore DVM

The Natural Vet® (877)-873-8838

Minerals and Salt – Friend or Foe?

by Dr. Dan Moore, The Natural Vet®

Short of water and air, there is NOTHING more important than minerals and salt for the health of your horse. Even if your horse gets a “complete” feed and even if you have salt or mineral blocks in the field – THAT IS NOT ENOUGH! Literally, every function in the body requires minerals. Even the slightest imbalance can cause severe consequences and in my opinion, humble yet outspoken as it is(!), literally every disease is either directly or indirectly caused by an imbalance thereof!

So what is the “Big Deal”? “My horses have a salt block already, I have a mineral block in the pasture and, besides, I feed a “complete” feed anyway. My horses should be fine right?” Quite honestly — almost certainly NOT! Conditions like founder, laminitis, abortion, allergies, botulism, Cushing’s, Hypothyroidism, lameness, joint problems are truly the result of imbalances…. Even a simple “easy keeper” in almost all cases is out of balance on the minerals and salt. “Easy Keepers” just don’t get enough – period, because they consume such little feed. When they don’t get enough minerals (which is also true for vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, etc.) their metabolism is even more negatively affected and they become even more “easy keepers” eventually leading to such conditions as hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, etc. These are those “night mare” colic prone, laminitic prone, “ just waiting to happen” horror stories!

Almost every horse in the world has a salt block. As I said, I say what I think and personally I think salt and mineral blocks should be outlawed. They are NOT your horse’s friends! A horse just can’t lick fast enough to get what he needs. If you have ever seen a horse chew at his block chances are he is not getting what he needs. Cribbing, chewing on wood and other behavioral problems are also likely signs. To make it worse, our horse’s mineral and salt needs change with the weather – just like the mineral content within grass changes with the weather. I once thought grass was just grass and that there was good grass and not so good grass I never really thought about the chemical composition of grass changing as the weather changed, but that is exactly what happens, and this change can be deadly!

If you are a cattleman, I am sure you are familiar with Grass Tetany and Milk Fever, and the sudden death associated with its occurrence. These were once thought to be magnesium and calcium deficiencies. We now know it is from high potassium forages and grasses. Similar situations causing abortions and gut problems often occur in horses. What happens is that the potassium spikes during cool, wet conditions and especially after long droughts followed by rainfall and rapid growth. – Situations like frost and freezing are especially bad – have you ever had horse colic after a frost? Probably so…the reason is a sudden mineral change in the grass, not just frozen grass! During these times sodium, calcium and magnesium decrease, while potassium increases. This spike in potassium is often deadly. A major problem like this occurred in 2001 in the Midwest where reproductive losses occurred in thousands of horses, cattle, sheep and goats. This was severe in Kentucky. Often cattle were just found dead a few hours after frost and freezes. Minerals blocks just cannot provide the minerals fast enough for such rapid changes in weather. Free choice, loose minerals are a must if such problems are to be prevented!

Excessive potassium and subsequent calcium and sodium deficiencies almost always lead to other opportunistic and even infectious diseases. Potassium promotes the overgrowth of saprotrophic (microorganisms that normally grow on dead matter), commensal (organisms that live together but don’t harm each other) and pathogenic (microbes that cause disease) microorganisms in the plant itself. These diseased plants then often produce and become the source of pathogenic bacteria (such as that which causes botulism) and also fungi, which as we all know, our horses are extremely sensitive to – especially in fescue grasses. After eating them, horses and other livestock face an overgrowth of these microorganisms, which rapidly grow and produce toxic by-products like ammonia. Excess ammonia is deadly – especially to fetuses and the immune system. Early and mid-term fetuses may abort, while near term may suffer premature birth and/or septic weak births. By the way, this problem is not limited to grass. Hay can also be the source – especially from fields that are heavily fertilized.

An extremely beneficial solution to high potassium forage and grasses is having readily available free choice minerals AT ALL TIMES! High calcium limes will help, but it often takes years to correct severely imbalanced soils. It is also important to consider that since sodium (the Na part of NaCl or salt) is so similar to potassium, horses often think they have enough sodium (but really have too much potassium) so they stop eating salt. This is especially so in the winter when they need it most. Force-feeding salt is a viable solution particularly in pregnant mares, which apparently never seem to get enough. This should be in addition to making it readily available free choice. (Always be sure to put any salt product near readily available water).

Naturally balanced sea salts are the best source of sodium salts and are excellent sources of many other essential macro and micro minerals (often called colloidal minerals). Man does have somewhat of an idea of what animals needs are, but truthfully there are minerals today that we did not know of 5 years ago, and there will be minerals years from now that we don’t know of today. If we don’t know they exist how can we put them in a mix? Personally, I prefer Mother Nature’s sources. These are also less likely to contain undesirable ingredients such as lead, aluminum, cadmium and even mercury. According to one study at a major university even dicalphosphate, which is almost always a major part of mineral mixes is often contaminated with lead and cadmium.

Typical white salt used in blocks and most mixes is really made for industrial use anyway and since our horses and livestock consume such a little amount by comparison, this industrial grade is usually what is used. Any white salt is also bleached and kiln dried – this is not a very “natural” process. Probably the worse problem is the excessive other minerals that are added to free choice mixes and even trace mineral blocks. This is especially a problem with many “hoof supplements”. These are usually full of minerals and will often help and they “look good” on the analysis BUT again, in my humble opinion, they often tip the scales of balance the other way leading to excessive amounts and other problems in the future. A slower more naturally balanced approach leads to more stable health. According to my sources and with personal experience in thousands of animals, if sodium and calcium are always readily available free choice, macro and micronutrients will more likely remain balanced and deficiencies are less likely to occur.

For information on. RED CAL (natural loose granular sea salt, colloidal trace minerals, plus herbs – and replaces typical salt and other minerals)
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Dan Moore DVM

The Natural Vet® (877)-873-8838