With the overwhelming amount of toxins our horse’s encounter on the regular, it is no surprise that their bodies can have a hard time managing and effectively removing the toxic load they may become burdened with.
Your horse could be carrying around a toxic burden that it can not eliminate on its own. This is due to the fact that horses are exposed to toxicity not only through the environment itself but through feed and products used on them as well. In most cases, the horse’s system is well equipped to rid itself of a certain level of toxins. The liver, kidneys, blood, skin, lymph and respiratory systems all play a role in expelling foreign or damaging substances from the body. However, when the body’s natural defense and cleansing mechanisms become overwhelmed, toxic cells begin to build up resulting in the healthy cells’ inability to function optimally, and thus creating a toxic burden that can have dramatic effects on the health of the horse.
Detox is essential!
Horses are easily overwhelmed with toxins and a toxic overload is often the cause of a variety of health issues. In fact, Dr. Lynn Peck DVM states that “based on my clinical experience, I believe toxic chemicals are a root cause of many, if not most, health problems.” When considering the whole health of the equine, adding a detox routine becomes a matter of when vs. if.
Adding a detox routine to your horse’s feeding regime will increase positive energy flow and assist in eliminating the toxic burden that can lead to decreased immunity and disease. A safe, whole food and holistic detoxification program such as Twenty Four Carrots’ Diamond Detox is an excellent way to boost the system’s antioxidants allowing the body to diminish the toxic overload which will stop the damage free radicals have on cells and allow tissues to repair. When full body health is achieved, our horses will perform better, feel better and ultimately be healthier in the long run.
In summary, if your horse is not acting like himself or displaying any of the symptoms of toxic overload (listed below), it is important to consider what the root cause of these behaviors or symptoms could be versus trying to treat the individual symptom that is flaring up. Treating individual symptoms of a toxic overload is like playing whack-a-mole in that when one toxic flare up is buffered with a supplement, medication, injection etc etc, another symptom of over toxicity will pop up in a different form. When this cycle chasing symptoms occurs, the treatment of each symptom only adds to the total toxic load the horse is carrying which is incredibly counterproductive to the horses’ overall health and can result in gradually worse symptoms occurring. Instead, examine the health of your horse as a whole. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if adding a detoxification routine to your horses’ regime would be beneficial for the issues at hand. Read nutritional labels on feed/supplements and ingredients on grooming products/fly control, making changes where needed and always opt for organic/natural when possible.
Some common sources of toxins are the following:
-Feed (in both hay and concentrated feeds)
Horses are exposed to heavy metals through fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides used on hay, grain and other crops that are used in horse feed. These heavy metals reduce the body's ability to absorb vital nutrients.
The air is increasingly contaminated with the billions of tons of chemicals that are put into it every year. These chemicals eventually settle and end up in food crops, soil and even groundwater and can cause damage to the neurological and immune systems.
Arsenic is commonly found in groundwater, especially in the Western part of the United States. Arsenic has been linked to neurological disorders and cancer.
These products often contain sulfates, parabens, phthalates, preservatives and more. When applied, the toxins are absorbed directly through the skin.
Vaccines often contain mercury, formaldehyde (a known carcinogen) and aluminum that when injected, goes directly into the bloodstream.
Many common medications including antibiotics, bute and banamine can compromise the liver and allow for the infiltration of toxic substances into the bloodstream.
Dewormers contain strong chemicals that may put a horse who has a large toxic overload in jeopardy.
Fly sprays can contain several pesticides that are absorbed directly through the horse’s skin.
-Plastics (water troughs, feed bins, toys etc.)
Some plastics (especially when left in the sun) can leach out toxins that interfere with the endocrine system.
Signs your horse may be carrying a toxic load:
Poor athletic performance
Allergies or autoimmune disorders
Anxiety, nervousness, overactive behavior
The development of EMS (equine metabolic syndrome), insulin resistance or laminitis
Dull, coarse, faded or greasy coat
Inflammation or stocking up
Ulcers, colic or diarrhea
Hard keeper or poor appetite
...and many many more.
*A simple test to see if your horse may be in need of a detox is to brush off your horse's forehead (to remove the top layer of dirt) and rub your fingers against the skin. After 30 seconds of rubbing, look at your fingers. Are they covered in a grey film? Do they feel oily? This grey oily substance is toxins that are coming out of the skin. When completing a successful detox, you will notice that the forehead will be the first area to clear up (although - depending on the toxic burden your horse may need several detox sessions before this is accomplished).