Published 31st October 2016
The equine immune system is there to protect your horse from any illness or infection that comes their way, via both prevention and cure. There are many different layers to the immune system with various types of cells playing important roles.
Firstly the immune system should aim to prevent foreign bodies (germs and allergens) from initially entering the body. When looking along these lines it is apparent that skin, mucus and hair will all play a role in the immune system of your horse. Any damage to the skin and hair, or issues in mucus production can lead to issues with your horses health.
If a germ does manage to make it past the first line of defence then the next stage is the body relying on its internal system made up of the white blood cells, as well as, supporting tissues and systems, to prevent the infection from multiplying. Once it has been contained, then it is then up to the same components of the immune system to neutralise the threat and expel the invader from the body.
For the majority of individuals this is a system which will work very effectively for the most of the duration of their life. However there are numerous factors which can hinder the effectiveness of the immune system, they are not necessarily mutually exclusive and the more common of which include:
So with the above 3 examples in mind, what can be done in order to keep your horses immune system as healthy as possible?
Firstly, have a good base diet, something high in fibre which allows your horse to have a continuous flow of food through their digestive tract, is the best starting point. Horses that do not have a consistent flow of feed through their gut are far more susceptible to acidic gut issues and therefore an increased level of stress, which could most likely be easily avoided.
Secondly, provide all of the building blocks required for the production of cells for the immune system. This can be done very easily by adding in an immune system support supplement.
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