Debbie and Woody
Debbie has owned Woody, a 22-year-old New Forest X, since he was four years old. They have enjoyed many happy years of trail riding together and now he is semi-retired they still go for the occasional hack, which Woody loves. This case study illustrates how Debbie gained valuable insights into Woody’s gut health and dietary needs using the EquiBiome Test after he was diagnosed with the rare condition sarcoidosis.
Woody’s Equine Sarcoidosis Diagnosis
In July 2017, Debbie noticed that Woody's left hind leg from the hock down to the fetlock looked quite swollen. However, he wasn’t lame so Debbie thought he had perhaps knocked himself and expected the swelling to go down. Woody’s vet also thought he had knocked his leg but unfortunately over the next few weeks it didn’t seem to be getting any better.
The leg then started to get really hot and the skin started to change and go flaky. The vet came out again and said it was lice. Debbie bathed the leg with specialist shampoo but it was no better. Woody was given injections for lice and the leg got worse and worse and worse. The vets still thought Woody had lice.
Said Debbie: “Eventually Woody's leg was so bad I really complained and said it had been 18 months and still the leg was getting worse, I had paid over £800, but that wasn’t the issue the issue was poor Woody was in pain. By this point all the hair had gone, the skin was literally peeling off his leg and it was incredibly sore and bleeding. I was so worried about infection and mud getting on it.
“So then the vet did the histology report which came back as Equine Sarcoidosis which is very rare. There is no treatment for it but the vet suggested trying steroids. I flatly refused as Woody has EMS and steroids can cause laminitis.”
What is Equine Sarcoidosis?
Equine sarcoidosis - also known as equine idiopathic granulomatous disease - is a rare skin condition that causes scaly, crusty skin lesions and alopecia. Little is known about the disease, and there is currently no treatment for it.
There is an article that discusses equine sarcoidosis in more detail here: https://www.veterinary-practice.com/article/equine-sarcoidosis
Gaining Insights Using the EquiBiome Test
Debbie had seen information on Facebook about EquiBiome on one of their sister company pages so got in touch with them to see if they could help Woody.
“I thought somehow the EquiBiome test might be able to help Woody, I didn't know much about it, but I knew Carol of EquiBiome from the Phytorigins company as Woody has the Phytolean® supplement, and that was enough. I had complete faith in her; she had been so kind and helpful with Woody’s other problems. I had nothing to lose and somehow inside I knew it would help.”
With Equine Sarcoidosis, nothing from the outside can help; creams and lotions just irritate it and make it worse. After Woody’s diagnosis, Debbie just left the leg alone completely and didn’t touch or brush it.
Debbie ordered her EquiBiome Test Kit and returned Woody’s faecal sample. On 15th November 2018, Woody's Equibiome results arrived.
Said Debbie: “The results showed several imbalances of bacteria and it was recommended that I make some changes to Woody’s diet to reduce the levels of bad bacteria and increase the good. I started adding the Biome Food to his diet in November 2018 and I will never take him off it!
“His leg is amazing - for the first time since July 2017 the hair has just begun to grow back. The hock has almost completely healed over and the heat has gone from flaming red hot heat to warm heat. I would recommend the EquiBiome test to anyone; I believe it has literally saved Woody's life.
“Woody has EMS, Cushings, Equine Sarcoidosis and COPD but he looks fantastic and is very happy and comfortable. I look after him myself and he lives with one other horse in a field and is stabled at night. He’s also barefoot and I feed him natural feeds and add Phytolean® and Biome Food No.1.”
The Role of The EquiBiome Test
Equine gut health is important to the horse’s overall health and wellbeing. Maintaining a healthy gut is also important in managing inflammation in horses with equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) and other metabolic disorders, especially when they are prone to obesity and laminitis.
As this case study demonstrates, the EquiBiome Test is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness. What it does do is provide valuable insights into the condition of the microbiome in the hind gut, which is where much of the digestive process occurs. The test can help identify imbalances in the microbiome, which can help horse owners make informed decisions about what and how to feed their horses.
Ready to uncover insights about your horse’s hind gut health? Explore our range of equine faecal test kits and discover the keys to supporting your horse’s gut health.