Heinz Body Anemia Associated with Maximum Voluntary Intake
The Garlic Controversy
Safety Assessment of Freeze-Dried Garlic (Allium Sativum) in Horses:
Wendy Pearson, Herman Boermans, William Bettger, Brian McBride, Michael Lindinger
Garlic, one of the oldest and most popular herbal medicines in human culture, has been implicated in the development of hemolytic anemia in dogs, cattle and sheep. Reports of garlic-induced anemia in these animals have caused many horse owners to pull the plant from their horses' diets, despite the fact that no reports of equine toxicity have emerged.
This project was undertaken as a preliminary toxicity assessment of garlic in horses. Two (2) horses were offered as much freeze-dried garlic as they would voluntarily consume, as part of their normal diet over a period of two and a half months. Garlic was provided by Freeman Farms (Meaford, Ontario) and freeze-dried at the University of Guelph. Two (2) control horses were fed a normal diet without garlic. The garlic dose was gradually increased from 0.05g/kg body weight twice daily (one cup) up to 0.25g/kg body weight twice daily (five cups). Blood samples were taken weekly and analyzed for changes in cellular or biochemical components. After the supplementation period was complete, garlic was removed from the horses' diet and blood sampling continued for a further five weeks.
By the end of the 71-day supplementation period, horses offered garlic developed signs of heinz body anemia, as characterized by the presence of heinz bodies in their red blood cells, decreased red blood cell count, hemoglobin, and increased billirubin. There was also an increase in the average size of their red blood cells, signifying that these cells were young, immature cells released in an attempt to replace those cells lost by garlic damage. All toxic effects were observed beyond four days at a dose of 0.20g/kg body weight twice daily (four cups per day). Most of the parameters that were affected by garlic returned to normal within four weeks of removing the garlic from their diet.
These results demonstrate that the maximum short-term, safe dose of freeze-dried garlic for horses is 0.20g/kg body weight twice daily (about four cups per day) for up to four days. Beyond this dose and duration, horses may develop signs of heinz body anemia. The implication of this finding is that the typical supplementation regime of 50-60g/day (1 cup) will not result in adverse effects on horses. Further studies are needed to determine if these lower doses are safe for chronic consumption, and if they are associated with beneficial effects.
New research suggests a link between cribbing and gastric acidity...
Causes for cribbing, considered a vice and also an unsoundness, have in the past focused on boredom and stress as well as diet. It was also assumed that some horses learned to crib by copying horses in neighboring stalls.
New thinking is that cribbing, or wind-sucking - when a horse grasps an object and draws air into the oesophagus producing a grunt - is a specific action employed to reduce the pain of gastric acidity.
Scientists at the University of Lincoln in England, working with an English feed company, recently completed a study of the effect of excess stomach acid on cribbing activity. 60 cribbing horses, ranging from yearlings to 24-year olds, were split into three groups. One group received a single dose of antacid, the second group received a double dose of antacid, and the third group got a placebo.
Results after two weeks of treatment...horses on the single dose of antacid had reduced their cribbing behavior by nearly a quarter, and those on the double dose showed a 39% decrease in cribbing. No changes were reported from the group on a placebo.
Horses produce gastric acid constantly (unlike humans and dogs), because they are designed to eat for 16-20 hours out of 24, so the acid needs to be available all of the time to assist digestion. But its natural buffer, saliva, is produced only when a horse chews. So is it possible that cribbing is something horses do to produce saliva?
If your horse cribs, feed as much hay and give him as much turn out as possible. And it just might be worth giving an antacid when you feed grain, to see if it makes a difference.
Over the past few years, many questions have been asked about the types and frequency of vaccinations given to children and companion animals.
What about our horses? Are they also being over-vaccinated? Many vets think so, and they question whether chronic allergies and respiratory problems are related to imbalances in the immune system caused by vaccines.
What can you do about this problem? Have your vet draw blood and take titers. Titers can also be taken every six months to see if immunity levels are still high enough in the body to protect the horse. This eliminates the danger of needless over-vaccination. (Remember that titer levels vary depending on what is being tested for.) Give all vaccinations singly, instead of in combinations or, even worse, giving 4 or 5 different vaccination injections in one day. This drastically compromises the immune system. Space out the vaccinations to one every 2 weeks, until the necessary vaccination protocol is complete. This will minimize stress on the immune system and give it a chance to recover and build up strong immunity between vaccinations.
For horses and dogs who have had bad reactions to vaccinations, try THUJA 30C to lessen the ill effects. One holistic veterinarian recommends giving dogs one dose 3 times a day for 2 days after vaccinating: for horses, one dose once a day for 5 days, starting the day of the vaccination.
How to Find A Holistic Practitioner
You can start by asking your regular veterinarian for a recommendation. Or you can obtain a list of practitioners in your area by contacting these organizations...
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
2214 Old Emmorton Road
Bel Air, MD 21015
Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy
(some homeopathic veterinarians may give telephone consultations)
American Veterinary Chiropractic Association
Animal Communicator, Vibrational Essences Practitioner and
Holistic Care Consultant. Worldwide services and workshops. Visit site
for more information about these subjects and for holistic care tips.
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