Help! My horse is in Pain!

by Yvonne Welz ©2006

Your horse is in pain right now - perhaps he is sore from a long term chronic problem such as founder or navicular; or maybe he just had an injury and is uncomfortable and you want to do something while you wait for the vet to arrive. What can you do?

Note: Please consult with your veterinarian any time your horse is in severe pain, is severely lame, or lame for an extended period of time. A horse that is 3-legged lame is usually just abscessing in one foot, but there is also the possibility of a fracture, puncture, or other severe problem. Your veterinarian should always be part of your horse's hoof care program, and should be working cooperatively with your hoofcare professional. Please consult with your veterinarian about any products, including herbal and natural ones, before you administer them to your horse.

These are some easy, natural home remedies that may help your horse:

Homeopathic Remedy Arnica Montana
This remedy is most useful for an acute situation, and does help relieve pain and stress. Probably the single most useful and acclaimed homeopathic remedy. Arnica is the first remedy to turn to after any injury. Useful for all forms of bruising and soft tissue damage. For muscular strains and sprains caused by overexertion, as well as trauma. Also useful for shock associated with injury or trauma. Dosage frequently recommended: According to the severity of the injury, dose as often as every 15 minutes until a positive response is observed. Continue dosing twice daily for up to one week, until bruising or lameness subsides. Horses: 5-10 small pills, either directly into horse's mouth or dissolved in water first. Arnica can also be purchased as a topical ointment or gel, and this can be applied directly to a sore or bruised area (do not apply to broken skin).

Homeopathic Remedy Hypericum Perf
This remedy is useful for pain relief. Traditionally used for any injury to the nerves, with severe pain. This can include bruises of the hoof tissue, which has many nerves. Crushed fingers and toes (such as when a horse stomps on your foot), and any type of crushing injury will respond to this remedy. Helpful for painful puncture wounds, relieves pain and reduces infection. Dosage frequently recommended: 3 times daily for a few days. Also useful as a topical ointment (apply to hoof or sore area) or as a component of Hyper-Cal Tincture (which includes Hypericum & Calendula) - for example, dilute into a solution with water and soak hoof.

Homeopathic Blends
There are many safe homeopathic blends developed to target discomfort, including BHI Heel's Traumed or Traumeel, and Equiopathics Musculo-Skeletal. These can be administered per label direction, and will not interfere with any other medications.

Devil's Claw
Most useful for a chronic situation, as it may take a couple days to work (usually added to feed). This is an herb that has been found to be very effective at reducing inflammation and pain in horses. There are now many products marketed with Devil's Claw as the active ingredient. Two products that I have found particularly effective include BL Solution (available at many tack/feed stores and vet supply catalogs) and Devil's Claw Plus from Uckele. Note: Devil's Claw is not to be fed to pregnant mares, and is also illegal for some competitions.

Bachs Rescue Remedy
Although this is not considered a pain reliever, per se, this flower essence blend can dramatically help a sore horse by relieving the severe stress associated with pain. Also effective in this way are other flower essence blends such as Dynamite Relax, Tranquil, and their herbal topical blend Release.

For chronic joint pain:
Feed supplements such as MSM, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and herbs such as yucca and cats claw have become very popular for managing chronic problems. You'll have to do some research and trial to find what works for your horse, and be sure to ask your veterinarian. I've found that Dynamite's Free & Easy is a very effective joint supplement, and I like to add that to the diet of any hardworking athletic horse.

©2006 by The Horse's Hoof. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduced by any means whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher and/or authors. The information contained within these articles is intended for educational purposes only, and not for diagnosing or medicinally prescribing in any way. Readers are cautioned to seek expert advice from a qualified health professional before pursuing any form of treatment on their animals. Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

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