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.
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.