The Supplement Game

I’ve tried a few different supplements with Henry throughout our 2 years together. When I first bought him and was bringing him back into work after having sat in the pasture for a year, I put him on DMG and MSM, since he had a lot of muscle soreness in the beginning. Eventually I tapered him off that and he remained supplement free until the magnesium experiment. Eventually I let him run out of that too, and since I didn’t notice an obvious difference, I never ordered more. Henry gets really good food, good hay, and pasture, so I don’t feel the need to give him extra stuff that he doesn’t really need. I’d rather not insert money into the horse’s mouth so that he can literally shit it out, at least not any more than I already am.

reality

But I did just order him a new supplement, which he started last week. Anyone who has read this blog for any period of time knows that Henry has a hard time breathing in really hot/humid weather. We’ve run a million tests and he’s been looked at by 2 vets… the most we’ve found is scar tissue in his lungs that can inhibit his ability to take in enough air when he’s truly taxed. One vet thought it might be worthwhile to try putting him on Tri-Hist, thinking part of his problem might be allergy-related, but since that stuff is notorious for causing anhidrosis (and the one thing that keeps Henry from dying in the summer is the fact that he’s an excellent sweater) I’m terrified to get anywhere near it. If he stopped sweating we’d be in major trouble.


So after a lot of internet scouring and research to find something that might work similarly, I opted to try Lung EQ from Uckele. It came down to: had to be show legal, had to have a lot of good reviews, had to be fairly affordable. There’s really not much to it: spirulina (blue-green algae), vitamin C, MSM, Flaxseed, and jiaogulan. Will it help? No idea. The allergens thing is really just as guess as to what might be exacerbating his problem, since we never could find a really clear-cut answer.

I’ll be honest, it looks kind of gross

Uckele recommends starting the supplement about a month before the horse typically starts experiencing symptoms, so I started it a week ago. Usually Henry starts getting bad in May. So far he hasn’t had any issues, but it’s only been around 80 degrees with 40-50% humidity… not that hot yet, compared to what’s coming, so not that taxing on his respiratory system. Even after our long conditioning ride on Tuesday he was cooled out and back to a normal respiratory rate by the time we had walked back to the barn.

So as reluctant as I am to hop back into the supplement game, I figured it’s worth a try. I’m always hopeful that something will work, because I do have to be really careful about what we do in the summer. It’s really the whole reason we’re going to spend 2 weeks in the high desert, where the average high temp in July is 75 and there’s really low humidity. I didn’t think any of the other 3 Days would work for him.

I will say, he really hated the supplement the first time he had it. He would take a bite, toss his head around, glare at me, paw at his bucket, etc. By the next day he had come to accept his fate, though, and now eats it just fine. I’m trying to help you Henny, I promise!

20 thoughts on “The Supplement Game

  1. that stuff looks interesting and worth a shot if it can help with his issues. Can’t wait to hear if it helps or not!

    Even tho i think some supplements are a crap shoot i am interested when i hear of other people’s success with them (or not). I have Remus on Bugoff in the summer (Not sure if it helps completely but it doesnt make it worse) and the Metabo lean from Smartpak. the Metabo lean helped all winter but he is puffing up due to spring grass. SO I am wondering is it worth spending 50 bucks or more a month to just watch my lean mean horse turn into a pasture puff…? LOL

    But considering this might help Henry BREATHE it is definitely worth it. And he thinks anything that is not cookie flavored to not be up to his level right?? 🙂

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  2. Fingers crossed it helps! Agree that anhidrosis is terrifying and you should stay far, far away. I’ve dealt with that and it’s horrible. I just started Dino on SmartPituitary Senior (now that he’s truly in ‘senior’ territory) because I figure his immune and hormonal systems might need a bit of support. I hate myself a little bit for falling for another supplement, and I may just be throwing money away, but it makes me feel a little better?

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  3. I fully agree with not wasting money on stuffing your horse full of supplements for things they really don’t need. However, Henry does have a legitimate issue with humidity in those hot Texas summers, so trying to find something that makes his life (and breathing) a little easier is absolutely a great idea. Hopefully Lung Eq does the trick, and you both can breathe a little easier….pun intended 😉

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  4. I have a horse that gets a quite nasty, deep, work induced cough in the warm months. I tried everything including the very pricey vet prescribed Ventpulmin syrup. With that cough, he was virtually unrideable. The only thing that worked was dexamethazone which is a steroid and I was not comfortable using long term. After much research, I came across Dr. Eleanor Kellon, DVM. She has done a lot of well documented research and ratings on many supplements of all kinds. She found that the combination of ingredients found in Lung EQ to be the most effective for COPD, Heaves and exercise induced cough. At first, I was purchasing the individual ingredients and my horse got better in the first 2 wks. But, that got messy so I began buying Lung EQ from State Line Tack who has the best price. Without it or these ingredients, my horse would not be able to work.

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  5. Definitely interesting. I have thought of putting mine on bug off since both are little Pansy’s about any kind of irritation but haven’t sprung. Houston gets an IM joint supplement and for now that’s it. I really wish I believed more in feed through hoof supplements bc houstons feet are atrocious.

    Hopefully this stuff helps Henry!

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    1. I have Roger on Farrier’s Formula, and it’s worked wonders on his TB feet. Every time the farrier comes out, he’s always impressed with the amount and quality of growth he has, and he hasn’t thrown a shoe in over 3 months. Plus, it’s about $24/month through SmartPak. You could give that a try.

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  6. I wonder if it would work on me. Just went to the pulmonologist last week and discovered I have bigger than normal lungs, only they traps gasses and don’t help me breathe any better. But, it’s all funky colored and probably smells weird…

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  7. Tucker gets a lot of supplements. His weaknesses are crappy hooves and ulcers. I like to believe that what I feed him helps these issues and I’m not just making myself feel better…. but who really knows. Hope this helps! I have heard Uckele is a good supplement company.

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    1. I really like Uckele products. In addition to Lung EQ, I also give my digestive upset prone horse, G.U.T. by Uckele. I feel that it keeps his sensitive tummy happy.

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  8. Well, my asthmatic self also struggles to breathe in extreme humidity. (So I moved to Maryland. Brilliant move, self.) Fascinated to see if this works. The only thing that helps me is air conditioning. Physical conditioning has very little to do with it. Not even abuterol will touch the hellish constriction that summer humidity brings, it’s truly awful. If we lived in the 1800s, I would be that invalid wife that forced the whole family to have to move to a “more suitable climate”.

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    1. oh dear Austen you just moved here lately too? You might just want to go into your house in late June and lock the door, turn the a/c down low and hunker down till October or so 😦 Our allergies/humidity/pollen you name it sucks in the MidAtlantic areas. I feel for you 🙂 LOL

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  9. Keep us posted! My thoroughbred seems to be allergic to life (I haven’t had him very long so still trying to figure him out). He coughs some when we start working and started getting hives after he shed out his winter coat. I thought he had head shaking syndrome for a little while too, but that turned out to be him not liking when his mane touches his ears (seriously?!). I just started him on the Platinum Performance Skin and Allergy as I had several people including my vet swear by it. It hasn’t been long enough to know for sure, but the coughing seems much better. Still has hives though. Need to switch bedding next I guess. Anyway, if this seems awesome to you, maybe I’ll try this one next.

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    1. Stacie, I thought I was the only person with a horse who hates his mane touching his ears. Haha…I find an ear bonnet does the trick.

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      1. I didn’t think that could possibly be it! But I braided it over to make him look presentable and no more head shaking. Such silly horses! Will have to try an ear bonnet, that’s a great idea!

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  10. Anything with spirulina looks gross to me, and it stains everything dark green! One of the barns that I use to horse sit for gave straight spirulina to one of their horses for breathing issues. One day I made the mistake of using my finger to level off the scoop…it took me DAYS to get the stain off! Hopefully the supplement works well for him. I know how crazy figuring out supplements can be.

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