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The health of your horse’s immune system is of the utmost importance. Whether the horse is a trail riding companion or a top competitive athlete, a healthy immune system is a must for overall health and performance. Horses with poor immune systems are much more likely to get sick, just like you or I. High-performance horses that travel and compete frequently can be exposed to a number of different diseases. A strong immune system is the best defense for competitive equine athletes.

Why a Healthy Equine Immune System so Important

In more humid areas in the United States, veterinarians are seeing a rise in diseases like Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis. This debilitating neurological disease is protozoal is found in nature; however most veterinarians agree that immune compromised and stressed horses are more likely to succumb to it. The question is also raised when vaccinated horses come down with West Nile Virus, and unvaccinated horses in the same barn are fine. Most horse owners, regardless of geographic region, want their horses to have the healthiest immune systems possible.

Why a Complete Feed is Not Enough

Many horse owners mistakenly believe their complete feed is providing their horse with all of the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy immune system. However, very few complete feeds address all the needs of a healthy equine immune system. Many conscientious horse owners are shocked after they read the label of their so-called complete feed. Even if a particular feed has the necessary vitamins and minerals for the immune system, very few horse owners are going to feed at high enough levels for their horses to actually receive any benefits. Boosting the immune system through supplements is the easiest way to ensure one’s horse is getting the nutrients he or she needs.

Where to Start

Immune support is incredibly important for horses that are travelling frequently or undergoing intense training. Ensuring immune system health is easy when supplementing the existing diet. The horse’s current feed should be analyzed. If the diet is deficient in any basic vitamins and minerals, then those should be added through supplementation first.

Immune-Boosting Supplements

There is a wide range of immune boosting supplements available. Most horse owners choose to boost their horse’s immune system health with an increased level of vitamin C in addition to amino acids and adaptogenic herbs. In the past, horse owners had to mix and match many different supplements to get the right immune-boosting recipe. Luckily, there are now supplements designed specifically for boosting equine immune health such as Grand Meadows Grand Complete and Med-Vet Vitamin E.

Ultimately, most horse owners can’t afford for their horses to have compromised immune systems. Even retired pasture horses can see greater health benefits though an immune system supplement. Choosing the right supplement can ensure greater immune system health for traveling, competitions and better seasonal health in backyard horses. 

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