Q.  What complementary medicine/modality do you recommend for gastric ulcers?

A.  There are many possible treatments for gastric ulcers, however, it is important to try to prevent a recurrence, not just treat what is there. If the horse came from a stressful environment, and is now in a good place, treatment with some natural compounds may be all you need to do. But if there is ongoing stress in this horse’s life, long term support will need to be given.

Different things stress different horses; some are easily stressed by changing turnout buddies, while others can adapt to change well. Most horses that travel or live mostly in stalls and small paddocks are more prone to ulcers– confinement is stressful.

Natural treatments include western herbal formulas such as Hilton Herbs Digest Support, aloe vera, papaya (if they are not insulin resistant since it is sweet), and turmeric or curcumin and a great anti-stress herbal formula APF.

All horses should have a good probiotic for at least a few months if they have had digestive tract problems. Acupuncture is useful, and Chinese herbs from your acupuncturist are also very good (I use them in most of my serious cases). It is best to avoid products with antacids, since the stomach is supposed to be acidic in order absorb six very important minerals (including calcium and selenium).

Q.  Do you have information about Lyme disease in horses?

A.  This is a difficult disease to treat, but is possible. i have a long, technical article on my website that goes into all the detail.

Dr. Joyce Harman is a veterinarian specializing in acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, and a variety of holistic methods. She has “written the book” on saddle fitting, with two volumes, The Horse’s Pain Free Back and Saddle Fit Book for western and English horses. She also has a booklet to help introduce people to homeopathy for horses, The First Aid Guide to Homeopathy for Horses. Her goal is to help educate the equine industry about natural, holistic and integrative medicine.