You can address a variety of your horse's bone, muscle and joint injuries with the remedies I'm about to describe. Dosage is always 4 or 5 pellets (I recommend 30C potency), dissolved in 12 cc of spring or distilled water in a small plastic syringe and squirted into your horse's mouth. I'll give you guidelines for the injury or other problem each remedy is good for and for signs that the remedy is working. Just remember that serious conditions such as bowed tendons, broken bones and puncture wounds will also require your veterinarian's immediate attention, whether you are treating them homeopathically or not.
Three Essential Remedies
- Arnica Montana (known as arnica)
Good for: Soft-tissue damage, such as muscle strain or soreness; or for bruising or bleeding resulting from a traumatic injury such as a kick, rope burn, fall or getting cast. Arnica also comes in gel, spray-on liquid or cream form for direct topical application.
What Arnica does: Stabilizes the capillary system, slows or stops seepage and immediately starts the healing process by causing blood and fluid to resorb.
Keynote symptom: Your horse may act as if he doesn't want you to touch him anywhere, not just around the injury site, He may not want to lie down, no matter how much you wish he'd get off his feet and rest. He may not want a bruise to be dressed or wrapped.
Bruises or bumps becoming less sensitive or swollen; your horse becoming less irritable about being touched and more willing to lie down.
- Rhus toxicodendron (known as Rhus tox)
Good for: Muscle strains--especially of the back--that go beyond the point of soreness to the actual tearing of muscle fibers; injury to connective tissues, especially tendons and ligaments; joint pain that improves with motion but gets worse with rest and humidity.
Keynote symptom: When you bring your horse out of his stall, he's so stiff he can barely walk, but he improves with movement. He may appear restless and repeatedly change position. He may get particularly stiff if you bathe him with cold water when he's hot and sweaty.
Watch for: Your horse being less stiff when he first begins to move.
- Ruta graveolens (known as Ruta)
Good for: Bone bruises of the lower limb. Injury to one of the smaller lower-limb joints, such as a knee, pastern or stifle; damage to a ligament, especially an evulsion fracture in which the ligament has not only pulled away from bone but taken a piece of bone with it; damage to cartilage (the elastic connective tissue found in joints) and/or the periosteum (the fibrous membrane covering the surface of a bone). Strained flexor tendon. Strain or tightness in the hamstring.
Keynote symptom: Your horse's joints are painful--possibly to the point of cracking--when you bend them. He does not improve with motion and is easily tired by exertion.
Watch for: Your horse becoming more comfortable; his range of motion increasing.
Two Nice-To-Have Remedies
- Symphitum officinale (known as Symphitim)
Good for: Bone injuries, including kicks, fractures or bruises, especially stone bruises or damage to the periosteum. A bowed tendon in which a hole shows up on ultrasound. Any penetrating bone injury, such as a nail through the coffin bone.
Keynote symptom: An injury that stays painful and unhealed longer than expected, given the degree of damage (for example, a bowed tendon that continues to hurt after a month or so, or a bone bruise that continues to be sensitive after a couple of weeks).
Watch for: Healing and less pain.
- Bryonia alba (known as Byonia)
Good for: Bursitis, particularly in the shoulder; a fluid-filled joint, such as the hock, where there's localized pain, heat and swelling. Bryonia is terrific after your vet drains, then injects hyaluronic acid into, a fluid-filled joint.
Keynote symptom: Pain gets worse with the slightest motion but improves with rest and firm local pressure.
Watch for:Less painful movement.
Madalyn Ward, DVM, is the author of Holistic Horsekeeping. Her Bear Creek Veterinary Clinic is in Austin, Texas, and she is certified to practice homeopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture.