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Horses, Ponies, Donkeys 
 

Specific Diseases and Conditions 
 

Refer to ‘General Conditions’ for the symptoms and Homeopathic treatment of any diseases or conditions not included in these pages. 
 

Length of Pregnancy 340 days 

Bone changes and enlargements

Veterinary diagnosis essential

All equines especially those that are ridden, jumped or used for driving etc are liable to suffer injuries and strains and to develop bony changes in their limbs as they get older. It is not within the scope of this section to list conditions and symptoms in detail a good book on horses should give information and advice on common ailments. I have listed common problems and remedies in each section. 
 

Forelegs 

Navicular disease

This condition takes place within the hoof, where the deep flexor tendon attaches to the navicular bone. It only occurs in the foreleg. The inflammation set up at this point may lead to permanent damage to the bone, causing chronic lameness.

Ringbones

There are three main bones at the lower end of the horse’s foot corresponding to the bones in the finger. The horse in effect walks on only one finger the middle one. High ringbone involves bony changes with the formation of new bone between the first and second bones. Lower ringbone affects the second and third bones.

Sidebones

In this condition bone takes the place of cartilage at the sides of the foot and is visible just above the hoof. It may be painful to the touch and cause lameness. It occurs mainly in the front feet.

Splints

Splints affect young horses, usually two year olds. The main metacarpal (or shin bone) is joined on both sides by two other rudimentary metacarpal bones (fingers). This fusion is a bony one and with excessive exercise on hard surfaces the inner one can enlarge and form a visible nodule or protrusion. This painful swelling can cause lameness. Plenty of rest is essential because if this swelling does not subside it may form excess bone and leave a permanent unsightly and sometimes painful mass.

The hind leg – Bone Spavin

Periostitis (inflammation of the periosteum or ‘outer skin’ of the bone’ which leads to bone formation and fusion of the bones in the hock. The swelling can be seen on the inner and lower part of the hock. 
 

Symptoms

The principle symptom in all the above conditions is one of varying degrees of lameness, which in many, but not all cases may show pain or tenderness at the seat of the lameness. 

Remedies

Start dosing immediately any lameness is detected Arnica 30c dose every hour for four doses whether the vet is summoned at once or not. Continue dosing four times daily until improved or change to a more appropriate remedy to match the presenting symptoms. 
 

For lameness that involves tendons and ligaments especially in acute cases which appear worse after rest Ruta 6c 3 – 4 times daily for a few days (5 – 10) until improved. 
 

Useful in chronic cases, this will help to reduce the formation of fibrous ‘scar’ tissue Silica 30c dose once daily for 10 – 14 days or up to three months if necessary 
 

Use after chronic, bony changes have taken place Calc Flour 30c dose twice a week for 4 – 6 weeks continue once a week for up to three months if necessary 
 

Catarrh and Sinusitis

A nasal discharge which may vary from slight to copious in amounts and watery and clear to thick and cloudy, even containing blood, in consistency 
 

Remedy

The discharge is acrid and makes the nostrils very sore Ars Alb 30c dose once daily for 5 – 7 days 
 

Infection is present. The discharge  is usually yellow in colour and the nose is sensitive to pressure or touch Hepar Sulph 30c dose twice daily for 7 – 10 days 
 

A useful remedy for ongoing cases with a thick string-like discharge Kali Bich 30c dose twice daily for 5 days and repeat after a week if required. 
 

For the chronic longstanding cases with a white pus like discharge Silica 30c dose twice daily for 5 – 10 days 
 

Colic

Veterinary help should be sought immediately as any colic is a potentially life threatening condition.

Anyone who has anything to do with horses dreads the thought of colic. This is a condition that involves pain in the intestines. The arrangement of the large intestine of the horse inside the abdominal cavity rather leads itself to colic. The colon is very long and folded over in two directions, rather as one might fold a blanket. 
 

Remedies

To counteract shock, fear and panic Aconite 30c give 3 – 4 doses at 10 – 15 minutes intervals as soon as symptoms appear. 
 

Give early in the attack if there is a rapid, bounding pulse, sweating, dilated pupils nd excitement. Belladonna follows aconite well Belladonna 30c dose every two hours up to 4 – 6 doses as necessary. 
 

Acute pain, discomfort, sweating, kicking at the stomach, getting up and down and rolling, this is one of the most effective treatments for equine colic Colocyth 30c for severe pain dose every 15 – 30 mins up to 6 – 8 doses. Continue dosing 4 – 6 times daily for a day or two if required. 
 

Indicated if a digestive upset, possibly involving the liver, is suspected, the animal often lies on its side and turns its head to one side and looks uncomfortable Nux Vom 6c or 30c dose every 2 – 4 hours and continue 3 – 4 times daily for a few days if necessary 
 

Constipation 
 

A good general remedy, particularly if a digestive problem is suspected Nux Vom 6c dose every two hours for 3 – 4 doses then three times daily for a day or two until the condition settles. 
 

Useful if the stomach region appears tender or there are signs of mild colic especially after drinking Sulphur 6c dose as above or alternate with Nux Vom if in doubt. 
 

Constipation with much straining and little result, passage of a lot of wind with signs of discomfort Aloe 6c dose four times daily until relief 
 

Hard knotty and dry faeces passed infrequently, leading to bleeding from a sore rectum and anus. Passing urine may also appear difficult Alumina 30c dose three times daily for up to 3 days 
 

Coughs and Colds 
 

The first remedy to consider in all conditions Aconite 30c dose every hour for 4 – 6 doses before moving on to another indicated remedy 
 

If there is fever, sweating, excitement and a full pulse, often accompanied by dilated pupils Belladonna 30c dose four times daily for 4 – 7 days u until improved 
 

A good all-round remedy if the cough is ‘nagging’ and worse for any movement Bryonia 6c dose 3 – 4 times daily for 5 – 10 days as required 
 

For a spasmodic, dry, chronic type of cough (croup) Drosera 6c or 12c dose 3 – 4 times daily for several days 
 

When the cough persists after an attack of pneumonia Ars Iod 6c dose 3 – 4 times daily for 5 – 10 days as required 
 

The cough seems to worsen during the night and be eased by having a drink. It is noticeable on breathing in and there is wheezing Spongia 6c dose morning and evening for 5 – 10 days or longer if required 
 

For a tickling hard dry persistent and obviously painful cough Phosphorous 6c dose four times daily until relief. For pneumonia a potency of 200c (or higher) may well be beneficial under the guidance of a homeopath.  
 

Cramp (Azoturia) ‘Set fast’, ‘Tying up’, MyositiA

Rather mystifying condition often related to a fault in feeding or management. It occurs during exercise following a period of rest, while the animal is still being red full rations. There is damage to muscle resulting in myoglobinurea (the appearance of muscle breakdown products in the urine).

Symptoms

The muscle mass over the hindquarters (gluteal muscles) are usually first affected and appear hard like a board, and painful touch. Sweating follows and a reluctance to move, stiffness is apparent and the animal lies down, is restless and in great discomfort, urine is obviously dark. 
 

Remedies

Use immediately whilst waiting for the vet to arrive Aconite 6c dose every 15 mins for up to 4 – 6 times. 
 

To follow Aconite if there is fever, a bounding pulse, nervousness and dilated pupils Belladonna 30c dose every hour for 4 – 6 doses. 
 

In less severe cases this remedy may be used from the onset of the condition until resolved Arnica 30c dose every 3- 4 hours up to four times daily for 5 – 7  days if necessary. If not relief from Arnica, consider one of the following. 
 

If the region of the back behind the ribs is tender, accompanied by pain and stiffness Berberis Vulgaris 30c dose 3 – 4 times daily for 3 – 5 days 
 

Another useful remedy for this condition, use if there is much stiffness and very dark urine Bellis Rerennis 30c dose 3 times daily for 3 – 5 days, but stop on improvement. 

Dermatitis, Greasy Heel and Mud Fever.

The word dermatitis means inflammation of the skin (both the outer layer the epidermis and the inner layer the dermis). 
 

Greasy Heel

This is due to over-secretion of the natural grease from the horse’s skin known as sebum. Greasy heel is most commonly seen in the hind leg, the cause can be standing in wet or dirty stables which are not cleaned out often enough, allowing infection to creep in

Symptoms:

The skin becomes infected, thickened and pustules form which leads to discomfort and possible lameness. The horse may rub or lick the sore region, accompanied by stamping, 
 

Mud Fever:

This is a similar condition to greasy heel but it takes the form of eczema. It occurs at the back of the heel which is extremely sore, and many horses will resent the aea being touched.

Symptoms:

The affected area is wet and the discharge is sticky rather than greasy. 
 

Remedies:

Most useful in the early stages, when the affected area is still fairly dry Ars Alb 30c

dose once daily for 7 – 10 days 
 

The skin may appear dry and roughened, but there is an oozing honey – coloured and sticky discharge Graphites 6c dose three tomes daily for 5 – 10 days 
 

Use if infection is present, usually accompanied by an offensive smell Hepar Sulph 30c dose twice daily for up to a week 
 

Follows Hepar Sulph well in a longstanding case Silica 6c or 30c dose twice daily for 7 – 14 days 
 

If the condition is not responding to other remedies Thuja 30c dose once daily for 10 – 14 days 
 

Diarrhoea and Enteritis

Fortunately does not occur too frequently and most cases respond to homeopathic treatment. There are a large number of remedies for treating diarrhoea and as always with homeopathy, selecting the one that best matches the symptoms presented, the more likely a successful outcome. There are a variety of causes for the condition

  • Excessive worm infestation
  • Colitis
  • Dietary
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Overuse of antibiotics
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroids and other Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Various poisons

 
 

Remedies:

Any signs of fever, rapid pulse, dilated pupils, increased rate of breathing, sweating Aconite 6c or 30c dose hourly up to 3 – 4 doses 
 

Pale brown, foul smelling painless motion, usually from over eating or from bad food. Thirst for small drinks, restless, possibly blood in the watery stools Ars Alb 30c dose 3 – 4 hourly up to four times daily 
 

Diarrhoea with slimy stools and symptoms of colic Colocynth 30c dose every half hour up to six times then four times daily for 2 – 3 days. 
 

Profuse watery stool expelled like a jet from the back passage, made worse from drinking water Croton Tig 30c dose 3 – 4 times daily for 2 – 4 days. 
 

Often thirsty and drooling, cold and sweating, blood in the motion. A good general remedy if there is blood in the stool Merc Corr 30c dose four times daily for up to 3 – 4 days if necessary 
 

Diarrhoea due to digestive upset and possibly liver involvement nux Vomica 6c dose 3 – 4 times daily for 3 – 4 days until improved 
 

Chronic cases, evil smelling, watery motion, profuse and noisy Podophyllum 6c dose 3 – 4 times daily for a few days when required, until improved.

Equine influenza 
 

Veterinary diagnosis required

Equine flu is a virus disease caused by two myxoviruses: A. Equi 1 and A. Equi 2. it is highly contagious and spreads by droplets in the air. It tends to be more prevalent in groups of young horses it can spread at shows and at pony camp etc 
 

Symptoms:

The onset is sudden the animal will appear of colour, followed by a fever with rise in temperature, running eyes and profuse watery nasal discharge. Pulse rate may be increased. Secondary bacterial symptoms follow: purulent discharge from nose, complete loss of appetite, a dry cough and accelerated breathing. Animal appears dejected and very unwell. At this stage antibiotic therapy should be used along with relevant homeopathic remedies.

Remedies:

Use this remedy first if flu is suspected, change as appropriate to another remedy matching the  presenting symptoms Aconite 30c dose four times daily at hourly intervals. 
 

In acute cases where signs of fever are apparent Belladonna 30c dose four times at hourly intervals, and if improving every four hours(four times daily) for a further 3 – 5 days. 
 

The recommended remedy for human flu; useful in horses too if symptoms are typical Gelsemium 30c dose four times daily (every four hours) for 3 – 5 days until symptoms subside 
 

Flu symptoms plus a dry harsh cough brought on by any movement Bryonia 6c dose 3 – 4 times daily for 3 – 7 days until improved 
 

Respiration noticeably increased, short and gasping, onset of pneumonia a possibility, niggling, tickling cough, worse in cold air phosphorus 30c dose 3 – 4 times daily for 3 – 7 days as required 
 

Hooves 
 

Thrush

A degeneration of the tissue of the frog, possibly caused by lack of pressure, wet dirty conditions underfoot.

Symptoms:

Thrush leads to an infection showing a black, necrotic (diseased) material, there will almost certainly be lameness 
 

Remedies

When infection is apparent Hepar Sulph 6c or 30c dose 3 to 4 times daily for a few days 
 

Acute persistent infecctions with foul smelling discharges Echinacea 6c dose three times daily for 5 – 7 days 
 

For chronic cases Silica 30c dose twice daily for one week or longer.  
 

Seedy Toe 
 

This may follow chronic Laminitis, when infection enters the gap that forms between the hoof wall and sensitive underlying tissues.

Symptoms

There will be pus formation and a discharge from the white line. This may cause lameness. 
 

The most useful remedy to regenerate damage or necrotic tissue in chronic cases is Calc Flour 30c dose once daily twice a week for 6 weeks. 
 

Laminitis 
 

Laminitis is an inflammation of the sensitive tissue of the foot, can be compared to wearing shoes three sizes too small and causes extreme pain. This sensitive laminae in the horses hoof becomes congested with blood and very inflamed producing the symptoms of laminitis. 
 

Acute form

This occurs mainly in the forefeet, but laminitis can occur in the hind feet at the same time. It is characterised by an extreme reluctance to move, the animal leans right back and is often extremely difficult to encourage to, go forward at all. There will be heat over the coronet band at the top of the hoof and extreme pain, sweating, rapid breathing and worried expression.

Chronic Form

This condition usually follows several acute attacks, possibly occurring several years after the initial bout. It is caused by a reshaping of the internal structures of the foot and rotation of the pedal bone (lowest bone in the horses foot), concentric rings begin to appear in the hoof wall and the toe may begin to curl up 
 

The shoes should be removed as this adds to the discomfort and pain and it is important to remove the animal from lush pasture of any sort as this will greatly aggravate the condition. High protein feed must be avoided and a diet of hay and high fibre feeds given. 
 

Remedies

Use immediately an attack is suspected Aconite 30c dose every 15 – 30 mins up to 4 – 6 doses 
 

Follows aconite well if there is fever, bounding pulse, nervousness and dilated pupils Belladonna 30c dose hourly for 4 to 6 doses, continue dosing 3 – 4 times daily for 3 – 4 days if improving. The 1m potency may be used to good effect but should be used under the guidance of a homeopath 
 

Subsequent Attacks 
 

Follows the above remedies well and aids the liver in ridding the body of toxins Nux Vomica 6c dose 2 – 3 times daily for 5 – 7 days until improved. 
 

Chronic 
 

If there appears to be slight improvement with first movement after standing Rhus Tox 6c dose 2 – 3 times daily until there is improvement this may take several weeks or possibly a month or two. 
 

Useful in the chronic case to assist in the regeneration of damaged tissue Cac Flour 30c dose morning and evening on two days per week eg Monday and Thursday for 4 – 6 weeks if necessary. 
 

Monday Morning Leg  (sporadic Lymphangitis) 
 

A condition usually seen in the heavier type of horse, used to be common in the days of heavy horse transport when animals worked hard for 6 days a week then rested.

Symptoms:

Swelling of one or both hind legs which retain fluid, the affected limbs become painful and hot and finger pressure in the area will produce pitting of the tissues. The lymphatic system becomes engorged with fluid and the lymph glands may become enlarged. 
 

Remedies 
 

Much swelling and discomfort Apis Mel 6c or 30c dose every 2 – 3 hours for four times daily for 5 – 7 days until improved 
 

If a superficial injury is apparent with much inflammation Rhus Tox 30c dose three times daily for 5 – 10 days until improved 
 

This remedy may be useful if there is a tendency towards skin ulceration Hamamelis 6c dose three times daily for 5 – 10 days until improved 
 

If the condition persists and tends to become chronic Calc Flour 30c dose three times daily for for 5 days until improved repeat when necessary. 
 

Topical Applications – Apply arnica lotion as long as the skin is not broken. Use Hamamelis (witch Hazel) or Hypercal lotion 2 – 3 times daily if skin is broken. 
 

Urticaria 
 

This is an allergic skin reaction can be due to allergens in the environment, contained in various feedstuffs or medicines

Symptoms

Raised oedematous (spongy) plaques or weals appear very suddenly on the skin, these can be anywhere on the body but mostly on the neck and trunk. If severe may accompany depression and diarrhoea. 
 

Remedies

The best general remedy Urtica Urens 6c dose every 15 – 20 mins for up to 4 – 6 doses, and with improvement reduce to 3 – 4 times daily for 1 – 3 days if required 
 

Much swelling and oedema. Skin very sensitive, worse for warmth and pressure. Swelling of lips and eyelids Apis 30c dose every 15 – 20 mins for 4 – 6 doses, and with improvement reduce to 3 – 4 times daily for 2 – 4 days as required. 
 

Tendons and Ligaments

The first choice of remedy whenever an injury of any sort is sustained, this may be the only remedy needed for slight injuries but if no improvement or the condition worsens other remedies will be required according to the presenting symptoms Arnica 30c dose three times daily for 5 – 10 days 
 

Hot painful swelling in the region of a joint, use after 3 – 4 doses of Arnica to counteract the initial trauma and shock Apis 30c dose every 2 – 4 hours up to six doses on the first day, then three times daily for a few days 
 

After an injury or an accident of the periosteum (outer layer of the bone) is likely to have been torn or bruised, improved by movement of the joint and warmth Ruta 6c dose three times daily for 5 – 10 days 
 

The main remedy for tendon injuries especially if there is slight improvement with first movement Rhus Tox 30c dose three times daily for up to seven days 
 

For chronic recurring injuries to tendons and ligaments Silica 200c dose once daily for 10 days repeat when necessary 
 

Alternatively for long standing cases particularly in older animals Silica 6c dose once or twice daily for 4 – 6 weeks can be beneficial. 
 

** Refer to ‘general conditions’ for the symptoms and homeopathic treatment of any disease not included in this section**  
 

           

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