Party like an animal…. Wake up feeling like road kill

Since it’s the silly season, I thought it a good time to have a discussion on the LIVER! 

I know that horses don’t tend to get liver failure due to alcohol and in fact, liver failure in horses isn’t very common at all, as 70% of the liver needs to be compromised before biochemical changes occur. 

But, some of the plants they may ingest, can have damaging effects on their liver! The most commonly damaging plants are ones containing Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids (like ragwort, although horses won’t actively choose to eat this) which is a natural chemical that plants develop to protect themselves. There are over 6000 plants that contain this in varying degrees.

Did you know….. 10% of the body’s blood resides in the liver….. Meaning, any disease there can have very significant consequences!

When a horse eats, the stomach will start to empty when its about 2/3rds full (regardless of whether the food has been broken down enough or not) and as horses are ‘hind gut fermenters’ it’s very important that the stomach has done its job right by breaking foods down before it goes on to the intestines. It’s a perfect science of chemicals that occur when digestion takes place, and when it goes wrong in one place, it effects other areas.

However, I have digressed….. back to the liver….. it is in charge of processing nutrients, making bile and proteins, it stores glucose, vitamins and minerals, maintains immune function and removes toxins from the blood. When a horse gets too toxic that the liver can’t keep up, things can get dangerous. The way we have domesticated horses over the years and changed the way they live and eat, means that we need to take extra care of the things that we may be compromising for them.

I always recommend to my clients the Equine Royale range which has amazing products for overall equine health.

Cheers to you all, have a wonderful Christmas, and maybe spare a thought for your own liver over New Year 😉