The primary role of the immune system is to defend the body against foreign invaders or abnormal cells that invade or attack it. The immune system functions in the same way in horses as it does in dogs, cats and humans.
When the immune system is out of balance, it can sometimes cause itchiness, fever, or swelling in the body to signal if there is something wrong. Just think of the immune system as a search and destroy system. It kills invading pathogens and antigens to prevent them from causing harm.
Most vaccines work by stimulating the development of specific immunity. Vaccinations have been developed for many diseases in animals as an effective way of enhancing the immune response to a specific invader.
However, overuse of vaccinations can create an imbalance in the immune system by over-stimulation. When this happens, the animal can have an auto-immune reaction. This can be true with the constant use of “stimulating” herbs as well.
If we constantly stimulate the immune system, it’s possible to can create an auto-immune reaction, especially if vaccines and various drugs are being used or the animal is in a stressful situation (physical as well as emotional stressors), all can affect the thymus.
But we don’t want to ignore the immune system hoping for the best by doing nothing.
This brings us to: HOW can we bring balance our pets immune system?
So the short answer is with immune modulators. The ideal combo platter for your pets immune system includes the use of Essential Fatty Acids, Pre and Probiotics, Phytonutrients that have specific immune modulating capabilities (Adaptogens) and contain a myriad of vitamin and minerals, creating total synergy for the immune system. This may sound complicated but a balanced formula can make your daily feeding regime easy and complete.
The base of our Wellness Blends, Canine, Feline and Equine are species selected Adaptogens, pre/probiotics and some essential fatty acids that are found in hemp seeds though dogs and cats should have added Omega 3’s, EPA and DHA.
What is an Adaptogen?
Definition by David Winston, RH, AHG
- Nontoxic to its recipient
- Produces a nonspecific response in the body
- i.e., if the immune system is heightened, adaptogens can depress for balance. If depleted, can enhance.
- Increases the power of resistance against multiple stressors including physical, chemical or biological agents.
- Has a normalizing/balancing effect on the organs caused by stressors.
- They help to counter chronic immune cell depletion and improve the body’s defenses by increasing the production of specialized cells.
- Also help produce an increased secretion of cortisol in response to injury or infection
- Have a direct effect on the nervous system, allowing for an improved mind-body connection.
They also offer an increased resistance to pathogens and infections by providing increased immunity.
Immune amphoteric: this is an immune modulator. An herb that can enhance or depress immune function or reduce overstimulated immune response to bring the body to a normal state.
Ashwagandha-American Ginseng- Asian Ginseng -Cordyceps -Holy Basil-Licorice-Reishi-Eleuthero-Shilajit
Immune stimulants: boost the immune system
Astragalus, Lycium, and Schisandra and Cat’s Claw (to a certain degree)
Eleuthero root is one of my favorite adaptogens for all animals as well as humans. It increases energy, endurance, longevity, immunity, skin and muscle tone and bone strength making it a necessary herb for athletic or working dogs and horses. It prevents lactic acid build up while enhancing circulatory action and is especially good with older animals as it relieves stress and improves resistance to infections.
Adaptogens by David Winston, RH, AHG