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It's said they can heal injuries, repel flies and make your horse’s coat glossy. But are homemade remedies reliable--or are they recipes for disaster? We’ll look at some homemade horse care remedies and see how effective they are.
By Debbie Moors and Karen E.N. Hayes, DVM, MS
You've tried everything to treat your horse's case of scratches. But he's still sore--and you're frustrated. A friend mentions a home remedy she's used with success, and you're tempted. It can't hurt, right?
It may not. It may even bring your horse relief. But it could also make the symptoms worse and create a whole new set of problems. We'll take a look at 10 horse care situations where homemade remedies were used, and Horse & Rider contributing editor and veterinarian Karen Hayes will explain why the remedy might be effective (or not) and offer some options and advice for treatment. We'll also look at remedies that have been used for generations ("Tried and True," below), and offer some words of warning for common horse treatments ("Proceed with Caution," below). And, just for a glimpse at how far horse care has come, we'll dust off some of the old (and outrageous) remedies horsemen cooked up as cures ("Don't Try This at Home,"below).
As always, check with your vet for diagnosis and treatment, and ask her before trying any homemade remedy.
Problem: Sarah's 16-year-old Quarter Horse, Wisk, isn't breaking a sweat, even in the dead heat of summer. The vet says he has anhidrosis, a condition characterized by a horse's inability to sweat in response to exercise or increased body temperature. Unable to cool himself, he's not only uncomfortable, but his health is compromised.
Reader Remedy: A friend suggests pouring a pint of Guinness beer in his grain ration once a day during the summer. It's an old racetrack remedy she says helps him pop a sweat.
Vet's View: It's not as far-fetched as it sounds...
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