Letters: 03/00

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Devil’s Claw User
Your January 2000 article on non-drug treatments for arthritis was a validation of my own experience with my field hunter. He came up lame overnight in the middle of the season two winters ago. After several months of missed diagnoses, X-rays revealed arthritis in the coffin joint and mild navicular. Injecting the joint proved ineffective. My dressage coach suggested devil’s claw, saying she had great success using it on two horses that hadn’t been able to be ridden for two years.

I felt I had little to lose, so I gave him liquid devil’s claw for one month, and he became sound. He is now on a powdered devil’s claw/white willow bark supplement, which has kept him sound ever since. I haven’t returned him to hunting, since I feel that would be too stressful for the joints, but he is totally sound for trail riding.

-Paula Moore
Frankfort, KY

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Narcolepsy In Older Mare
I recall a horse that showed similar signs as the mare falling down when she falls asleep (see January 2000). After numerous vet calls and tests, and this mare wearing trailer wraps to stop the cuts and scraping on her legs, it wasn’t anything neurological but physical. She was older and arthritic. The vet observed that is was difficult for her to get up. Since it was painful, she simply wouldn’t lie down to sleep. She would doze and within a minute fall flat on her face. So, he injected her with various medications. I’m not sure exactly what he gave her, but it made her more comfortable. She could lie down to go to sleep and her narcolepsy-like symptoms disappeared.

-Lisa Burnett
Rhoadesville, VA

A normal horse will not fall down simply because they fall asleep. Their hind legs are equipped with what is called “the stay apparatus,” an arrangement of ligaments that allows them to “lock” their legs in position to keep them up when asleep. The source of this horse’s hind end pain must have involved one or more elements of the stay apparatus in at least one leg, explaining the symptoms. A horse with this degree of soreness/damage would be obviously lame and probably had as much trouble going down as getting up.

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CocoSoya And Supplements
In your January issue, you stated that oils and supplements containing minerals should be fed at separate times. I have been mixing 2-4 oz. of CocoSoya with 1 oz. of Vita-Key Antioxidant Concentrate, then adding that to my horses’ feed. On the container, the manufacturer states that 2 oz. of corn oil may be added to the powder to disguise the taste and improve consumption. (Without the oil one of my horses will not eat the supplement!) Am I wasting my money since the main reason I’m giving the supplement is for the balanced and increased mineral content' Does CocoSoya interfere with the mineral absorption and increase the need for dietary magnesium'

-Deborah Robertson
Marietta, GA

You can relax. Antioxidant Concentrate doesn’t contain magnesium. The extra 2 to 3 oz. of oil in the context of the whole diet won’t have any significant impact on mineral absorption.

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Correction
Body Flex Plus, a product included in our herbal remedies for arthritis article (January 2000), had incorrect contact and price information in the chart on page 12. The correct manufacturer is JBR Equine Therapy, 800/269-0478. Prices are $44/2 lbs. and $88/4 lbs.