Post Viral Syndromes in Equines

We commonly hear of ‘viral infections’ being blamed for a horse’s poor performance, recovery, lethargy or general lacklustre health. The horse who doesn’t look a picture of health; is not completing their work with the same stamina as they have previously; has become dull or lacklustre; or is generally a little ‘off’.

Commonly, the first thing a trainer or owner does is request ‘bloods’ (a full blood count) be taken from the horse. In many cases, a full blood count may yield no significant abnormalities. That however, doesn’t guarantee that a horse is healthy. Nor that the horse isn’t suffering from the lingering consequences of viral infection.

Acute viral pathogens can survive in their latent (inactive) forms driving chronic, and persistent poor performance, impaired recovery and symptoms. This is often not reflected in pathology (blood test) results. Viral infections progress in the body in a multistep process. There is very little that can be done from a pharmaceutical (standard medication) perspective to help a horse recover from post-viral illness.

Fortunately, there are many nutritional supplements and herbal medicines which when employed appropriately, can aid in our horses’ recovery from viral illness. Tailored treatment can aid in promoting optimal health in our horses and help them return to their full athletic potential. Treatment is often targeted at aiding different components of the immune system, whilst concurrently reducing inflammation and supporting antioxidant status.

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