Anaemia in horses - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

Anaemia simply means a reduction in red blood cells in the horse's blood. A low grade anaemia is generally an efficiency problem with managing blood iron and blood oxygen problems. This will show with a lack of vitality and general energy levels because of poor oxygen being carried by low hemoglobin levels, as well as a heart that beats faster than normal...

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Anemia in horses is always a symptom of an underlying disease.

Anemia is classified as regenerative or nonregenerative. In a regenerative anemia, the bone marrow responds to the decreased number of red blood cells by increasing red blood cell production. Anemias due to bleeding or the destruction of red blood cells are usually regenerative.
In nonregenerative anemia, the bone marrow doesn't respond adequately to the increased need for red blood cells. Anemias that are caused by a decrease in erythropoietin (the hormone that stimulates red blood cell production) or by an abnormality in the bone marrow are nonregenerative (1).

Signs of anemia will depend on the severity, duration and cause.

Signs may include:

  • Pale gums, eyelid linings or other mucous membranes
  • Low blood pressure
  • Horse may appear jaundiced (a yellowish color of the whites of the eyes, skin, or gums)
  • Loss of energy
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Possibly a heart murmur

McDowells Recommendations

The Anemia mix includes circulatory, bone marrow, heart and blood tonics and for low grade anaemia we would add some liver tonics to ensure that the liver is supported. Exposure to a course of such a mix for a full blood cycle (12 weeks) should re-establish a normal healthy pattern and you should notice signs of improvement within the first two or three weeks.

This Anemia blend aids in the conditioning of the blood system hense boosting iron levels in anaemic horses. Ingredients include Borage, Kelp Powder, Nettle Herb, Red Clover, Rue Herb, Yarrow Herb, Hawthorn/Pine Bark and Elecampane along with the Bach Flower Remedy: Rescue Remedy.

Rosehips granules
Brewed into a tea , rosehips are recommended to treat anemia as they are a great blood tonic high in iron and Vitamin C. They play a major role in kidney rehabilitation and adrenal function supporting adrenal and ciruclatory health.

Traditionally used as a blood tonic. High in bio available iron, rich in vitamins and minerals. Nettle improves oxygenation of the blood and is known to increase red blood cell count, and to stimulate circulation.



(1) Anemia in Horses By Steven L. Marks , BVSc, MS, MRCVS, DACVIM (SAIM), North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine

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