Mud Related Conditions and Equr

Mud related conditions are not a singular problem, but a collection of clinical signs associated with a variety of causes such as a horse's genetic make-up, limitation through environmental factors, allergies, and badly rubbing boots. It can range from a mild skin irritation to very painful sores with an underlying infection, and it's not limited to muddy conditions. They can cause lameness, and in severe cases on lower limbs it shows up as crusty scabs or split skin at the back of the leg (cracked heels), this gives rise to bacterial infection and lameness.

The mechanism of Mud related conditions is basically bacterial invasion of the upper/outer layers of the horse's skin, and the main bacteria involved is called dermatophilius congolensis which, in its intermediary stage of development as a zoospore, is transferred between horses by flies, ticks and midges. It can also be passed on by contact with an infected animal, and it also occurs in swabs taken from poorly drained pasture land, bedding and the shaggy coats of some horses, as well as the thickened skin of some susceptible horses.

What starts as a mechanical problem when the horse's skin is broken or weakened by wet or harsh conditions or insect bites, becomes an infection when the bacteria invade the resultant wound. Horses particularly prone to mud related conditions are youngsters with softer, vulnerable skin; horses in poor condition with lowered immunity; white legged horses whose legs are more attractive to flies and thick coated horses whose legs dry more slowly causing their skin to remain wet for longer periods.

Horses can become chronically infected and in the more extreme cases, there may be painful inflammation with swollen legs and varying degrees of lameness. In many such cases a secondary septicaemia may occur when the horses will appear unwell and develop a high temperature. To deal with Mud related conditions you must first remove the original cause by bringing the horse in to tidy, clean, fresh stabling. Then you must treat the infection. Because of the broad spectrum nature of this adverse condition (that is to say because of the wide variety of bacteria and fungal spores which may infect a wound, pharmaceutical routes to treatment are often contraindicated, since they are usually designed to kill one family of bacteria or another in a fairly narrow range and can, because of their strength often lead to iatrogenic illness (illness caused by side-effects from drugs).

By far the best way to deal with Mud related conditions is to deal with it in the way that the animal's own immune system responds to invasion and instead of trying to kill the bacterium/infection separately, work to replicate and reinforce the immune system's response so as to help it to eradicate the invader. The average immune response to a pathogen is to attack it with white blood corpuscles, whilst at the same time raising temperature, increasing the blood supply to the area and often causing swelling to bring about immobility. These and dozens of other less well recognised functions take place more or less simultaneously and are all part of a concerted response. When one or more of these fail or act below par, then the immune response is weakened and healing inhibited.

By facilitating the overall immune response and providing it with the wherewithal to function strongly on a local level, it has been proved possible to "bump start" sluggish systems and precipitate a full blown response which has then gone on to heal the system.

The compound which has been developed to perform this minor miracle is Equr , manufactured ... by Taylors Hill Ltd, Natural Animal Healthcare.

Equr is a complex compound of naturally occurring monosaccharides, trisaccharides and polysaccharides which relies for much of its activity on an enzymic reaction which occurs on contact with water. The enzyme glucose oxidase produces gluconolactoncs and hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide is unstable and decomposes but its continuous generation gives Equr an antibacterial property. This precipitates a cascade of responses, the pivotal one of which is known as a peroxide-burst. The immune systems of mammals use the peroxide-burst mechanism as one of their most powerful reactions to infection and by creating this reaction in situ on the wound bed, Equr is able to trigger this response in the host which then goes on to deal with the infection.

Because of the regulatory climate in this country, Taylors Hill are restricted to advertising Equr simply as an antibacterial unguent and sell their product as a herbal remedy. Nonetheless, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and Equr is now widely used and recognised in equestrian circles both in the UK and overseas.

Source:- Taylors Hill Ltd (manufacturers of Equr)
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