Accelerated Bone Growth and Shortened Tendons - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

Foals can gallop within hours of birth and in the wild horses will travel vast distances to find food and water. A horse's body has evolved to avoid predators, with their instinct being for flight before fight...

Kelsey foal4

Growth and development in equines is relatively fast. Accelerated bone growth and shortened tendons often occur by too rapid gain of weight of the young horse. Sometimes there is a genetic predisposition. It is usually recommended that protein rich food be eliminated for a while - so therefore no grain and no lucerne. Try and get hold of grassy or pasture hay. Keep him on the lean side until he has matured.

Feeding and care guide

As a general rule, horses really do not need grain unless they are poor doers, or are doing substantial work. Older horses in winter may need some supplementation. Rugging will cut down on the amount of feed required by conserving body heat and energy.

An important point is that all horses require sufficient fibre in their diet to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract (GIT) so whether that be pasture or hay or a combination of the two (depending on amount of pasture present) it should be avaialable at all times. 

Make sure that teeth are attended to on a yearly basis to ensure the horse is getting the most from their feed and that they are grinding the fibre adequately otherwise if long strands of fibre are not chewed properly this may lead to GIT blockages.

Ensure you have a reputable farrier or barefoot trimmer for your yearling. This will be very important to give him the best chance of returning to normal or as normal as can be expected.

I would strongly recommend that you refer to a respected nutritional guide. Such a book will allow you to figure out how much each individual horse will require and will have equations for figuring out calcium to phosphorous ratios, protein requirements etc. Each horse is an individual though and one needs to monitor how the horse is going on the diet ie. Is the horse gaining too much weight (then reduce the feed) or not maintaining weight then up the feed? Nothing is set in stone so you be the judge of how your horse looks. These books usually have a diagram whereby they show the different fat scores which are useful.

McDowells recommendations

Tendon and Bone
Tendon and Bone promotes the re-growth of attachment points and the re-tensioning of stretched or damaged ligaments. It
 contains a combination of elecampane along with kelp granules, ground linseed, ground millet, yarrow, horsetail.  Elecampane is a stimulant to fibroblast (the most common cells of connective tissue in animals) and osteoblast (single nucleus that synthesize bone) activity due to its allantoin content. Millet contains especially high levels of organic silica compounds as well as carbohydrate and many other minerals. It also contains high levels of magnesium and higher in protein than most other grains. Linseed is specific nourishment for strength and elasticity of ligaments and attachment points and is a whole feed source of Omega 3 and 6 and Linoleic acids. Kelp contains phosphorus iron, sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium which makes it great for strengthening bones and assists in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism.

Equigesta-Pre contains a combination of pure herbal powders, brewer's yeast and bentonite clay. Traditionally this combination has been used to aid and promote beneficial intestinal microorganisms. Our unique blend can be used daily as an equine prebiotic to support and stimulate the growth and activity of good bacteria in the digestive system.

Rosehips granules are one of the very best sources of natural Iron and Vitamin C. They also contain biotin for optimum hoof health. Rosehips play a major role in kidney rehabilitation and adrenal function and can be used to prevent Azoturia or "tying up". Routine usage will completely rehabilitate kidneys weakened by stress and/or the regular use of electrolytes or diuretics.

Kelp is a great supplement that assists in promoting healthy coat, mane and tails. Kelp is high in zinc and antioxidants which makes it a great immunity booster. Because it is in a natural form it is easily assimilated into the body. Kelp contains phosphorus iron, sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium which makes it great for strengthening bones and assists in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism. Kelp can also help treat inflammation and may strengthen and promote the glands. It controls the thyroid and regulates metabolism.


(1) The response of bone, articular cartilage and tendon to exercise in the horse Elwyn C FirthElwyn C Firth

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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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