The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I've decided to go with Chinese herbs for the treatment of Rose's eye. The vet doesn't think it's uveitis, but then again, he doesn't know what it is and was using a scattershot approach to treatment. The folks at For Love of the Horse believe it is uveitis and have recommended an herbal uveitis remedy, as well as an immune system support treatment. As uveitis is something which conventional medicine treats with only moderate success, if any, I'm placing my confidence in the herbs. Chinese medicine got my daughter over fibromyalgia and got me out of a borderline thyroid/fatigue slump, so here goes.

I know very little about Chinese medicine, but I gather it is all about balance - keeping the body's own systems functioning harmoniously - strengthening the parts which are weak, and toning down those which are overactive - helping the body cope on its own with the challenges thrown at it.

Every organism is in a constant state of adjustment. If we were in a permanent state of equilibrium, we would be deader than rocks, not to mention hermetically sealed off from our environment. Life is movement, rearrangement, change, and interaction.

In Paradise, I imagine every creature's ability to adjust to changing conditions was finely tuned, and each challenge met with the immediate, appropriate response. If you run fifteen minutes in the sun and then take a drink, you'll stay in balance. But try to run a whole marathon without hydrating, and you'll probably need days to recuperate. A little off-balance is what makes us alive. It's only when the response is too little or too late that pathology ensues.

I'm reminded what they say about the traditional Chinese doctor - that he is paid only when you're healthy, and you stop paying him when you're sick. The fabled Chinese doctor maintains your health by helping you constantly adjust and compensate in the face of all the challenges thrown at you - by the environment, by the available nutrition, and by the micro-organisms who share your world. Pathologies are to be prevented before they happen. The creatures of the world were designed to function together as a harmonious whole, interdependent, but not mutually exploitative.

My reservation about the remedy which I've bought for Rose is that it was prescribed for the disease and not for the individual. Strictly speaking, Chinese medicine should treat the individual, which means that two horses with the same symptoms might receive totally different treatments. However, we do what we can.

I checked the herbs with the pendulum and was very surprised to find a reaction I've never encountered before. The pendulum swings vigorously clockwise, then stops, then proceeds to swing vigorously counter-clockwise. I take this to mean - somehow - that the remedies work in a very different way from allopathic or homeopathic ones, which attack, or help the body attack, a specific disease.

Ok, decision made about treatment. Now to persuade the patient that this is the right thing to do. I went out today, all bundled up (remembered gloves this time), and determined that Rose was going to take her herbs without me bullying her, but also determined that she was going to take them. It took a full hour to accomplish this.

Rose politely but resolutely declined to have anything to do with the syringe containing the delectable and health-restoring concoction. Bridget was jumping up and down: "Me! Me! I love Chinese herbs! Give 'em to me!"

Bridget's opinion of Chinese herbs
Rose thinks Chinese herbs are dumb

After a while, Rose let me scratch her face with the syringe. She started giving Bridget the evil eye, which is a good sign, and it means: "I'm having a good time, buzz off and leave me alone with the human." However, she was not, not, not, not, not going to let me put that syringe into her mouth. At one point, I started to wrap the rope around her nose, and then realized that was not the way to go. I hoped she'd finally get so bored that she'd capitulate, but no such luck.

Eventually, I discovered that if I led her along, holding the tail of the leadrope in my left hand, and with my right hand holding both her halter and the syringe, I could touch the tip of the syringe to her muzzle every step or so, and she would only tug her head away a little bit, focussed as she was on forward movement.  Then I managed to infiltrate the tip of the syringe into her mouth every so often and squirt some in. In this way, I managed to empty both syringes, with Rose making a big show of smacking her lips and chewing and opening her mouth, but not actually pulling away.

I don't know if it's the taste she doesn't like. More likely she just has an aversion to being dosed, as the poor girl has had so much of that in the past. Next time I'm going straight for the walking application method, and I sincerely hope it doesn't take an hour.



  1. I like how you eventually got the dose into Rose. I also like your thoughts on Chinese medicine. I do hope it produces a good result for Rose.

  2. I've been reading your blog for awhile, but this is my first comment. I enjoy reading very much and put a link on my own "new" blog -- so I hope that is ok with you.
    My boy just loathes getting his worming paste and I really liked the way you got Rose to take her stuff. Worming is coming up soon...and I'm thinking I might just try your approach with my boy.
    I have to say Bridget was cute too -- if only they could only all be that excited about their medicine! .....but then again.....having different personalities is what makes each of them unique :-)

  3. Hi, Carol! (is that your name?)
    Thanks for reading and for putting a link from your blog!
    I'm looking forward to reading about you and Griffin - I looked into the Standardbred adoption program at one time too. I hear they're wonderful horses.