Natural Equine Health Solutions

Optim Equine brings a unique approach to optimising horse health, wellbeing and performance.

Combining scientific evidence-based medicine with traditional naturopathic practices, Optim Equine delivers the most effective and beneficial health outcomes for your horse.

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6 days ago

Optim Equine

ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE...Be Drug SMART (Part 2)

So what can be done about this? Firstly, take a good, hard look at why they are being used: only use them to treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics will not treat viral or fungal infections. When they are deemed necessary, prescribe the narrowest-spectrum antibiotic at the appropriate dose and duration. An integrated approach needs to be employed to ensure that post antibiotic treatment, not only is a favourable bacterial balance reinstated, but that GI integrity is restored, immune function optimised, and depleted nutrient stores repleted. Simply giving horses some probiotics alone isn’t going to negate all the side effects of antibiotics.

In most instances where antibiotics are used inappropriately, there are dietary and management modifications that can be implemented to have significant beneficial impact on the horse. The strategic, qualified and appropriate use of indicated nutraceuticals and herbal medicines can also be invaluable.
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6 days ago

Optim Equine

ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE...Be Drug SMART (Part 1)

Antibiotics. One of the most commonly prescribed classes of pharmaceuticals in the equine industry. They have their place. They can be lifesaving. But they certainly have their downside. And they are certainly used far more often, without careful consideration, than they should be. Whilst it is now widely acknowledged and accepted that they ‘kill off healthy bacteria’ throughout the body (not just in the gut), few stop to think of the flow on effect of this. It sets the horse’s body up for a state of dysbiosis: an unfavourable imbalance/maladaption of the microbial population in the horse. This in turn has a direct impact on metabolism, energy production, immune function, neurotransmitter production and function (affecting mood and temperament). Unfavourable alterations in the horse’s gastrointestinal (GI) microbial population interferes with the horse’s ability to synthesise some of the nutrients critical for maintaining basic health (let alone performing at the highest level- whether this be racing , dressage, showjumping, eventing, showing, etc).

The more antibiotics are used, the more microbial resistance is created against them- both at an individual and population level. What does this mean? Put simply, it means that when they are genuinely needed to treat bacterial infection, their efficacy is often reduced.

#equine #horsehealth #horsevet #bethechange #antibiotics #thoroughbred #equestrian
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2 weeks ago

Optim Equine

So what do you do about the temperamental horse or horse with behavioural issues?...

The first thought of many owners/riders/trainers is to put the horse on ulcer medication, strategically sedate and/or add magnesium to the ration. And sure, as a naturopath, I could easily prescribe a herbal sedative formula that would help quiet them down. But that isn’t addressing the cause. And it isn’t necessarily making the horse feel better. It is a ‘band-aid’, short term solution.

Throwing a supplement (natural or otherwise) or medication at a horse, without reviewing possible causative and/or contributing factors to its presentation is at best plain silly. At worst it is irresponsible and illogical.

Asking questions, reviewing practices, identifying causes and implementing strategic therapies and management practices is how you go about moving forward and making real progress.

#horses #horsehealth #equestrian #showjumping #horsestagram #ottb #horseracing
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2 weeks ago

Optim Equine

‘My horse is cranky/moody/irritable/spooky/playing up...what is wrong with him!?’

This week’s recurring theme in consultations has been that of behavioural issues in the horse.

The patients have included different horses (breeds, ages, uses), different contributing factors (although plenty of overlap too) and different behavioural issues: crankiness, irritability, spookiness, resistance to doing hard work, rearing up mid-way through every ride, issues loading into barriers, endlessly walking the fence line of the paddock.

Effectively addressing and resolving behavioural issues requires an holistic approach, with careful consideration to potential contributing factors. Is pain an issue (remember that pain can have many causes- just some of these being musculoskeletal injury, illness, poor fitting tack, hoof pain, and the often overlooked visceral pain)? Are hormone levels playing a role? Gastrointestinal (GI) health (remembering that around 80% of neurotransmitters- the very chemicals that influence mood and behaviour are produced in the gut)? Ulcers? Chronic allergies/sensitivities? Learned behaviour?

How much as an owner do you EXPECT or anticipate your horse to continue the behaviour...thereby feeding into the issue?

These questions can be incredibly challenging to answer effectively without a knowledgeable and objective point of view. You invest so much time, energy, effort and expense into these incredible animals-meaning that critical evaluation can be downright hard!Yet thorough evaluation and identification of these factors is the first point in addressing them and resolving the temperament/behavioural issues.

Remember that in many cases, it may not just be ONE factor causing the behavioural/temperament/mood issues. It is usually a combination...yet often those close to the horse will attribute it to one thing. The straw that seemingly broke the camel’s back.

#horses #equine #horsenutrition #naturalhorse #thoroughbred #ottb #performancehorses #dressage
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3 weeks ago

Optim Equine

Sunday Reflections...

As an equine naturopath (someone who takes an holistic approach to help with an array of horse health, injury and behavioural issues) it never ceases to amaze me how in any one week I can see multiple versions of the same underlying health challenges in a horse. One week my case load may include helping multiple horses with recurrent colic, the next will see several cases of suspensory ligament lesions, another week it seems like every second horse I see has laminitis. This week has seen plenty of consultations in relation to immune challenges. All the horses have been in different environments and with different health presentations: the mare with chronic endometritis, who has failed to go in foal; the racehorse who gets even the most minor of scratches or scrapes and manifests a large-scale infection in response; the eventer who chronically has a snotty nose; the pony who every 3-4 weeks breaks out in hives for ‘no known reason’. For all these cases, bute, antibiotics and antihistamines have failed to provide the ‘miracle cure’ for what ails the horse. Whilst the contributing factors to each of these cases differs, and the treatment strategies implemented is tailored uniquely to each individual- there is also significant overlap. To truly make clinical and physical progress in these cases- the causes of illness/injury need to be identified and addressed. Only then, does true healing and true progress occur.
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