Holistic Approach To Gastric Ulcers

Today more and more horses are diagnosed with gastric ulcers. It’s been well-documented that over 90% of racehorses and over 60% of performance horses (hunter/jumpers, dressage, endurance, and western) have ulcers. New research shows that even small changes in the routine of a pleasure horse can cause ulcers in as little as seven days. If your horse is “emotional,” they can start an ulcer just sitting in their stall. Even diet can play a huge roll in developing ulcers. The point here is that it is not just training, traveling or competitions; there could be several factors in developing ulcers.

FIRST – Know the signs of an ulcer. These include poor performance (could be disguised as muscle or back pain), behavioral issues (poor attitude, resistance, girthy), colic, and loss of weight or condition. If your horse is emotional, they could display a specific sweat pattern on the neck and shoulder area.

TREATMENT – The goal is to balance the gut pH. Traditional therapy would be Omeprazole (Gastrogard); This is a gastric acid pump inhibitor that blocks gastric acid secretion in the stomach. Several words of caution here. First, after using these products, there is a condition called Acid Rebound –  a surge in acid production that often happens, causing a significant drop in gastric pH and leaving your horse vulnerable to the formation of new ulcers and digestive discomfort. Second, if used for an extended period, it can inhibit the absorption of key minerals and vitamins, such as magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Calcium, for example, is dependent on gastric acidity; reduction in acidity may interfere with calcium absorption. Finally, Omeprazole can affect the liver and would be contraindicated for horses suffering from liver issues.

HOLISTIC APPROACH – The goal is the same regarding gut pH. Remember, 65% of your horse’s immune system is in their digestive tract; a poor digestive function can also lead to weakened immunity. Through the holistic approach, we support the entire digestive system. Support is provided through a combination of supplements and diet. Balanced Eco Solution has brought together three supplements that assist in clearing ulcers and support the digestive tract.

Body Balance Wellness Formula – A unique blend of nutraceuticals that provide nutrient fortification to strengthen the hindgut. The primary active ingredients in the Wellness Formula are mannan and glucan sugars. Many pathogenic bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, and toxins in the GI tract, and the whole body are attracted to and attach themselves to the mannan sugars. Once attached to the sugars or oligosaccharides, they become inactive, cannot colonize and are rafted out of the body. Also, the Wellness Formula provides a therapeutic dosage of pre and probiotics to add good bacteria back into the gut.

Body Balance Immune Builder – This is a synergistic blend of herbs and honey. It works as an anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and supports the kidney and liver. The Immune Builder helps horses suffering from ulcers in two ways. First- the honey helps in healing the stomach wall. Second – Marshmallow Root coats the horse’s stomach lining, helping to cover the ulcer, thus protecting it from the digestive stomach acid and soothing the inflamed area. While at the same time allowing the stomach to function normally, by not interfering with the stomach’s natural acidity level and not harming the beneficial microbes in the horse’s gut.

Flaxseed CM – Helps the ulcer horse in several ways. First is the product is “cold-milled.” Cold milling chops the seed without heating the mill blades, so the essential fatty acids remain intact.  Second – Flaxseed CM is high in fiber (47%) with a large amount of pectin and mucilage. These water-soluble fibers create a soothing gel inside the digestive tract. Flaxseed is low in sugar and starch (2.6%), making it safe for horses with insulin resistance, PPID (Cushing’s), and PSSM.

Diet – Reduce or eliminate grain concentrated feeds as well as vegetable oils, such as soybean and corn oils, they are great sources of fat but promote inflammation due to their high omega 6 content. Look at vegetable sources that are high in omega 3s such as flax (meal or oil) or chia seeds; these reduce the inflammation experienced with ulcers. Replacing grain concentrated feeds with a Teff hay pellet combined with shredded beet pulp and copra meal or Coolstance works well. If you can’t locate Teff grass or pellets, Timothy grass hay can be substituted.

Ulcer Prevention Checklist

  • Feed 30 minutes before exercise. Hay and alfalfa are best as grains pass through the stomach too fast. Forage consumption not only slows the speed of feeding and digesting but also stimulates saliva that acts as a protective buffering agent
  • Provide access to hay throughout the day or multiple small meals.
  • Avoid physical and behavioral stress.
  • Use a natural alternative for long term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Phenylbutazone.

RESULTS – Using a pharmaceutical approach, maximum suppression of acid production occurs three to five days after beginning treatment. Using the holistic approach, you can see results in 48 hours or less. Why the faster results using the holistic approach? We are providing the body the nutrition it needs to support the natural healing process instead of a pharmaceutical drug to suppress the symptom.

Vesicular Stomatitisvirus

Defined, Support Care & Prevention

With more states being added to the list for Vesicular Stomatitis Virus outbreak each day, I felt it was important to let our clients know more about the virus supportive treatment and prevention of this nasty virus.


Vesicular stomatitis typically starts out as a fever and then symptoms such as loss of appetite due to lesions in the mouth and sloughing off the tongue follow. Your horse may also experience lameness if his coronary band develops coronitis. Diagnostics mainly consist of serologic testing for antibodies which can identify which virus is affecting your horse. There is no exact treatment for this condition, but the disease itself is self-limiting. Most horses recover well with very little supportive care making prognosis of recovery good.

The best way to provide supportive care is by supporting the immune system and treating the lesions as they appear.
Immune Builder – This is a feed supplement that is formulated to clear the virus from the bloodstream. It also supports the kidneys and liver during virus removal. It has both an anti-viral and anti-inflammatory components that assist in the healing process. 

Equisilver – This is a chelated silver wound spray. Equisilver is different than colloidal silver. Colloidal silver is hampered being absorbed by the body due to the size of the silver partials. Chelated silver is bound by a water molecule and has great absorption. It is using extensively in equine respiratory therapy. It’s capability to be absorbed deep into the skin which allows its natural anti-viral properties to kill over 600 pathogens within the first 5 minutes of application. 

Stall Management

Healthy Stall – Healthy Stall is a perfect 3 in 1 product that provides a clean, natural environment for your horse.  Stalls and barns are never parasite free; they are the home to mites, lice, and fleas. These parasites live in the cracks, crevices, and bedding, where they come out at night to feed on the horse. Flies and mosquitoes are a constant nuisance because of the deadly viruses they carry that can affect the long-term healthy of your horse. Essential oils are used for added fly control.

Fly control is the most important step and should be taken very seriously. We recommend frequent application of fly repellent approved for animals, including on the face and ears. We also advise use of barriers, such as fly sheets and face masks.

In addition, I recommend basic steps to prevent infectious disease when traveling to events with your horse. In a nutshell, these steps are:

  • Separate your horse from others during the show.
  • Don’t share tack or feeding, watering, and grooming equipment. Don’t tie your horse where others have been tied. Keep hands off other horses and avoid letting other people handle your horse.
  • Disinfect all show and travel equipment, including trailer, before and after use.
  • Frequently wash hands and use hand sanitizer.
  • Keep your traveling horse separate from others for a week after returning home; monitor your horse for any signs of infection or illness during this time.
  • Contact your veterinarian for more information

Heath Alert – EHV 1

We continue to receive outbreak notifications across multiple states of EHV-1 daily.  We wanted to help our clients safeguard your horses from being affected. The popular opinion is if my horse is vaccinated, they are safe, right? Unfortunately, no. While there are several vaccines available that protect against respiratory disease and abortion, none are labeled for protection against the neurologic form, and there is no evidence for such protection.

EHV1 Defined – EHV-1 contagious and spread by direct horse-to-horse contact via the respiratory tract through nasal secretions. It is important to know that this virus can also be spread indirectly through contact with physical objects that are contaminated with the virus — contaminated trailers used for transporting horses.

Signs & Symptoms – The signs the occur with EHV-1 and the EHM strain include things such as decreased coordination, urine dribbling, fever, hind limb weakness, leaning against things to maintain balance, lethargy and the inability to get off the ground.

Traditional Treatment – Treatment is primarily supportive. This includes anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant drugs, and intravenous fluids if the horse has trouble drinking. Nursing care is also extremely important if the horse is unable to rise.

Balanced Eco Solutions EHV Protocol – Our protocol supports the EHV horse in multiple ways. First by building the immune system to clear the virus. Second support the respiratory system. Third, as an anti-inflammatory to deal with the viral side effects. We do this via the three products below.

body balance immune builder
Immune Builder
Wellness Formula
Respiratory Formula

Soaking Vs Steaming Hay to Reduce NSC

If you have a horse that suffers from Insulin Resistance, Equine Metabolic Syndrome, PSSM or Cushing’s you are always struggling to reduce the NSC levels in their hay. Some owners soak the hay to reduce the sugar levels and airborne respirable dust which naturally occur in the hay.  With steaming units becoming more popular it begs the question which method is better to steam or soak?

Soaking the hay in water does reduce the sugar levels, but there are a few issues that need to be addressed. First, if you soak you hay for longer than 2 hours (some will let hay soak all night to reduce feed prep) bacterial growth starts to be a problem. Secondly, soaking causes significant mineral loss, which if left unchecked can cause additional issues.  If you have been soaking hay for a while, I would recommend doing an Equine Hair & Mineral Analysis. This is a comprehensive analysis of 15 nutritional elements, 8 toxic metals, 7 significant mineral ratios. From the data, you can pinpoint any mineral imbalance and correct it by creating a custom supplement. Finally, it reduces the amount of dry matter, leaving your horse with less digestible fiber. Another problem with feeding soaked hay is it is not palatable, and horses will refuse to eat it.

Steaming hay does reduce the NSC levels. But it has the added benefit of maintaining the minerals. In fact, since steaming opens up the fiber matrix of hay, the bioavailability of these minerals is likely enhanced.  The only mineral that decreased in concentration through steaming was iron, which is a good thing because iron increases insulin resistance.

Finally, we are a proponent of providing metabolic horses a  free-choice feed environment instead of a dry paddock. Steaming provides a free-choice to your overweight horse to allow for self-regulation and ultimate weight loss.

Vaccines When & When Not To Give Them

Equine Health Alert – West Nile Virus

Why Equine Hair Analysis

Why Hair Analysis?

Are you concerned about your horse’s performance level? Have you tried multiple supplement programs but have seen little or no changes? Do you want to take the guesswork out of your horse’s nutritional program? These are all good reasons to have a hair analysis done.

What is hair analysis and how is it done? By collecting a small quantity of mane hair and sending it to a certified lab can provide volumes of information. Among the many advantages of a hair-mineral analysis is its accuracy in revealing the tissue levels of minerals in the horse over a two – three month period. A word of caution regarding labs, make sure the lab you work with is certified to test equine samples. Some naysayers will say you you’re looking at old information but in actuality it gives accurate information on minerals and nutritional deficiencies. It takes into consideration that toxins are stored in the tissues of the body, not in the blood. For instance, you can have normal copper levels in the blood, but high copper levels in the tissues. Hair analysis can help check enzyme and endocrine function, stress response and recovery, inflammatory tendencies and nutritional deficiencies and imbalances. The report provide a base line of your horse’s health and enables you to make informed decisions on your current feeding program.

Balanced Eco Solutions offers equine hair analysis from the only certified lab in the USA. The report is reviewed by our in-house veterinarian and provides a summary of the findings. Our equine nutritionist also reviews the report and works with our veterinarian to create a custom supplement program for your horse.

Benefits of Hair Analysis

1. Checks minerals and nutritional deficiencies
2. Check enzyme and endocrine function
3. Stress response and recovery
4. Baseline for supplement program

How Tell If Your Supplement Program is Working

You can go down any isle in a tack or feed store and see supplements from floor to ceiling. All making magical promises from giving your horse better hoofs to increasing performance. In the world of supplements it’s not a one size fits all proposition. As our horse’s health care advocate we need to ask some questions. How can we find out what MY HORSE REALLY needs? What is best for your specific horse?

There are several ways to find out what your horse really needs for minerals and other supplements. The first we will discuss is Hair Analysis. Yes by collecting a small quantity of mane hair and sending it to a certified lab can provide volumes of information. Among the many advantages of a hair-mineral analysis is its accuracy in revealing the tissue levels of minerals in the horse. A word of caution regarding labs, make sure the lab you work with is certified to test equine samples. Currently there are labs in the USA, UK and Australia that are certified to process equine hair samples. It is best to have your vet review the report with you. Balanced Eco Solutions offers testing from a certified lab and our in-house vet reviews your report and creates a custom supplement program for each horse. Some naysayers will say you you’re looking at old information but in actuality it gives accurate information on minerals like selenium which is an important component to equine health.

Another way to determine what your horse needs is by doing a forage test. This will give you a current view of what his current diet is lacking. Hay and forage producers conduct their own forage testing so it should be easy to get a copy. Balanced Eco Solution prefers hair analysis because you can create a baseline history and make better decisions on diet or supplement changes. Forage testing results will fluxuate from producer to producer and even field to field.

What is best for your horse really depends on your riding. Is the horse in heavy training, competing, and traveling to different shows or competitions? Or are you a competitive trail rider that rides the weekends? In either case, starting with an overall “Wellness” supplement that offers probiotics and immune support to assist in dealing the stress of working would be the best start. We would also suggest a Selenium and Vitamin E supplement that supports the immune and muscular systems. Anti-oxidants such as selenium and vitamin E are your horse’s first line of defense against cellular damage from free radicals and essential for the proper functioning of the immune and muscular systems. The selenium in your horse’s diet can come from multiple sources such as pasture, hay, grain, or commercial feeds and supplements. The selenium content of hay and cereal grains depends on the selenium content of the soil in which they were grown. If you are an eventer or hunter jumper we would suggest a joint supplement as well. It is far better to support and maintain joints and cartilage over time to helping them to remain healthy than trying to repair the damage once it has been done.

When selecting supplements it is important to read all the ingredients not just the top 3-4. The reason is something called “fillers” or “binders” these are ingredients are the “glue” which bind and stabilize a supplement. Historically they have been considered inert and without any medicinal benefit however they do influence the benefits of the intended ingredients. These fillers and binders can affect the absorption rate and benefit of the supplement by as much as 65%.

Balanced Eco Solutions has been working with a team of holistic veterinarians and equine nutritionists to create a series of natural supplements. The Body Balance Fundamentals supplements are free of fillers and binders and contain natural and organic ingredients. All of these supplements are produced when you order them to guarantee the freshest products for your horse.

Immune Builder – Developed as part of our Equine Sarcoid Treatment Protocol for its antiviral properties, Immune Builder has ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties, kidney and liver support, functions as a system detoxifier and has been beneficial as in the treatment of Founder.

Wellness Formula – A unique blend of nutraceuticals that to strengthen natural metabolic functions. Wellness Formula utilizes probiotics to support the immune system against viruses and toxins that may occur due to stress of training or travel.

Selenium+E – A safe and effective mineral supplement that supports the immune and muscular systems. Our formulation developed by our in-house equine nutritionist uses all natural / organic ingredients like selenium-enriched yeast chelated and vitamin E.   It has been proven in research that not only is a higher percentage of the organic form of selenium (selenium-enriched yeast) absorbed than the inorganic form sodium selenite, but selenium-enriched yeast is more effectively stored and utilized within the selenium-dependent processes in the body.

Respiratory – A synergistic herbal blend mixed with pure honey that promotes a healthy respiratory system. It will assist the body in clearing upper respiratory congestion and boost the immune system by creating an inhospitable environment for viruses.

Finally we need to address the growing problem of over supplementing. The attitude that “more is better” is not the case when it comes to supplements. Equine nutrition is a delicate balance. Too much of one mineral can rob the body of others creating even bigger issues. An effective program should start with a hair analysis which will create a baseline of your horse’s health. Once the baseline is available you then have the tools for a supplement program that will bring the most benefit to your horse.

body balance immune builder

Traditional veterinary medicine doesn’t work so well on certain things — like weird immune problems.

Weird Immune Problems

Here are some immune system issues that I think are weird:

  1. Mud Fever where there’s no mud
  2. Scratches that you can NEVER get rid of completely
  3. Chronic (read: years!) of loose stool
  4. Rain rot where there’s no rain
  5. Fly Allergies
  6. Very itchy horses

All of the above involve the immune system. And traditional vet med tends to hand you some form of topical cleaner and/or steroids.  These can help, but are unfortunately only a temporary band-aid.

What’s really happening is:

Either the immune system is depressed and can’t get rid of the fungus (rain rot, mud fever, scratches) OR the immune system is hyperactive (allergies, itching).

Sometimes vets get caught up in trying to fix the symptoms without looking for a primary cause. In weird cases, the immune system is definitely involved and should be addressed.

What can you do yourself? 30 days of an immune supporting supplement is always a good, and safe, choice to start with.