Australian equine herbalist Robert McDowall looks at EHV and the role of immunity in fighting the virus.
There are several different herpes viruses that affect horses – EHV-1 that can cause fetal abortion (sub-type 1), which can also cause nervous disorders such as paralysis and hind limb incoordination; or respiratory problems (sub-type 2). EHV-3 causes blisters that can turn into deep ulcers on the reproductive organs of both mares and stallions.
All herpes viruses are amazingly adaptive, far more so than your average virus and bacterial infections, and equine herpes virus (EHV -1) is affecting a significant proportion of horses – racing stock in particular – and it is showing up in respiratory symptoms.
There is a vaccine available that is completely ineffective and, as with human herpes, there are no medical ‘cures’ for the viruses. The spread and mutation of this virus is a direct result of the general depletion of the immune systems of our animals. We have created the circumstances in which it can thrive simply by over-prescribing antibiotics and injections of all sorts, and by using more and more chemicals on our land, in our feed and the pollution of our water and air.
Unfortunately, the equine herpes virus and other exotic infections are here to stay and will be controlled only by maintaining our animals 110% healthy. No more quick fixes and magic medicines! We have used and abused these for 50 or 60 years and we have created super bugs and viruses through our own shortsighted practices.
The only way available to keep our stock free of this and other exotic infection is to build up and maintain the immune systems of our animals to allow their own immune systems to control the virus.
It will be the new strains of exotic infections, which will be the biggest challenge to equine health in the years to come. It will be the complete failure of orthodox medicine to treat these exotics as well as its responsibility in creating an environment that created them in the first place, which will taint our attitude toward 20th century medicine forever.
As a preventative measure, every day you need to feed your horses fresh Garlic and Rosehips in the form of a herbal tea.
In the case of infection, support of the respiratory system by the use of herbal preparations including herbs like Coltsfoot, Elecampane, Fenugreek, Marshmallow, Mullein, Nettle, Yarrow, Colloidal Silver, Maritime Pine Bark and Thuja.
Minimize the use of medical drugs and injectables, stop using antibiotics, keep away from veterinary hospitals, allow your animals access to clean natural pasture, and supply them hedgerows full of medicinal herbs and weeds so they may use their own instincts to self medicate.