In 2014 I was invited to visit Israel and give a lecture entitled "Diet and feedstuffs of the equine" I would also visit horse owners who needed advice and help for their equines. Together with Nick Hill, a world famous expert in hoof care and equine podiatry, we left for Israel in 2015. I visited Israel for the first time, but I was left with life long memories. I got to know so many wonderful people, to whom I felt a connection through our shared love and passion for horses. I thank all of them for welcoming us into their homes during our stay in Israel.
For me the main purpose of my trip to Israel was the lecture, which many horse owners there were really looking forward to, although the lecture was not the only reason for my trip. As Nick Hill was performing hoof trimming and giving advice on how to maintain healthy hooves, I was performing general physical examinations on the spot. I was giving the owners advice on how to make up a healthier diet for their horses or explaining the causes and treatment options of specific medical problems. My observations on the diet of the equines were also confirmed by Nick Hill's examination of the hooves - true team work. I am sure that my findings will be of interest to many horse owners even though they only concerned my patients and Nick Hill's clients in Israel.
Part of the medical problems I encountered in Israel included navicular syndrome, laminitis and hind gut acidosis. Even though all of these conditions were already treated by the local veterinary surgeons, the horses were not completely healthy and pain free. Most of the cases were treated with the methods of traditional Western medicine, which offered some but no complete remission of the disease. Navicular syndrome is not often diagnosed in Bulgaria, but is sadly a common problem elsewhere in the world including Israel. The medical community is looking for new and experimental methods of treating the disease and lameness but the lack of long term observations regarding those methods is still a shortcoming for most of them. This is why we took a different approach - removing the egg-bar shoes, trimming the hooves, which included restoring the mediolateral balance, a radical change in diet and homeopathy.
The pony, which was suffering from laminitis and also required our help, was in a desperate need of a change in its diet. The supplements, which were worsening the condition, were excluded of the diet. Nick Hill made sure that the hooves were properly trimmed.
I had the pleasure of observing the treatment of a horse with hind gut acidosis via acupuncture and essential oils. Those of you, who just raised an eyebrow in disbelief will be interested to learn the the nervous and highly agitated horse, which also had diarrhoea, relaxed completely and sighed deeply after inhaling the smell of one of the essential oils which Neomi David offered him. Neomi David then took her needles. Only 4 or 5 of them were enough for us to see a complete change in the behaviour of the horse. He started breathing in and out deeply and from the abdomen as the therapist putt it. The agitation and aggression, with which the horse greeted us, had completely vanished and the horse was feeling obvious relief only after 5 to 10 minutes.
But let's get back to the diet and feedstuffs of the equine. A little about Israel: Israel is a country where the price of the land is one of the main limitations before horse owners. Often horsey people cannot afford a big area where they can put their horses out. But leaving the spatial limitations aside, what diversity of plant species Israel has! I can only compare it to Bulgaria, where like in Israel horses have the chance to self medicate on herbs like the milk thistle. Why would a pregnant mare choose this thorny plant which she chewed on with visible discomfort and was yet enjoying is still a small mystery to me. Maybe someone involved in research could shed more light on the matter?
The domestic horses that live in stable yards or paddocks could not enjoy the variety of the plant world that Israel had to offer. As it turned out, grass hay was a mirage to most local horse owners. There was very little grass hay produce and import of this or any other type of forage for the horses was too expensive to even consider. The alternative that lay before horse owners in Israel - oat hay or oat straw with a mixture of barley ears as it turned out when we saw it. This was used as the forage base by almost all horse owners we visited. As oat straw is deficient in many minerals and most likely vitamins our clients felt compelled to balance their horses' diet with alfalfa pellets, oats, grain mixtures or commercially produced horse supplements. The diet of many of the horses in Israel needed to change because of their weight or for other health related reasons. We are yet to see the results of our combined efforts but I am certain that the change will be for the best. Many clients said that they learned a lot and that they are willing to try a new diet based on forage (oat hay) with a small amount of additives to balance the mineral and vitamin content (alfalfa pellets and / or timothy pellets - import). The diet of these horses will most likely have to be changed after a certain period of time based on their condition and general health on the new regime. Where and when needed whole oats and linseed will be added. The three types of forage are meant to balance each other out and the horses in Israel could benefit from them well. The lack of variety in the diet of these horses means that the menu of these equines will need to be optimised every few months to make sure the horses are getting everything they need with their feed. We will base these changes in diet on blood test results and the horses' general health state and hopefully more tests where and when possible. The equine body is always changing and is never static. Just like everything in nature. True balance is dynamic and I am persistent in pursuing it.
Ralitsa Grancharova, DVM
Не се съгласявам статиите ми да се копират, цитират и споделят без мое изрично разрешение. Всяко копиране на материалите на тази страница в цялост или частично нарушава авторските ми права.
Интересът ми към храненето
Диететиката на животните е само един от професионалните ми интереси, но тя заема голяма част от работата ми и е близо до сърцето ми. Наблюдавайки отблизо положителния ефект на лечебното хранене и негативното отражение на неподходящата диета достигнах до убеждението, че диететиката е наука, която всеки собственик на кон, магаре или муле трябва да познава отблизо. Това е най-близкият път към силен имунитет, правилно храносмилане, здрава космена покривка и копита и добра подвижност.