09 Jun 2022

Stress & the Immune System

There’s the age old saying of ‘prevention is better than cure’, and that is exactly what supporting the immune system does.  Getting ahead of the game by building a strong immune system that can help fight off harmful viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

A weakened immune system can be recognised by a range of symptoms, from allergies, breathing issues, dull coats, a loss of muscle tone and difficulty in maintaining condition.

Stress can also pose one of the biggest threats to the horse’s immune system.  Even horses with the most sedate of lifestyles can be subject to stress, just as much as those who travel more or those with an increased workload.

Common stressors in horses can include:

  • Illness or injury
  • Travel
  • Prolonged stabling
  • Competition
  • Changes in routine
  • Changes in environment
  • Extreme weather conditions

Horses may not appear to stress outwardly, but they may be suffering the internal effects of stress.  As owners we can look for several indicators as to whether our horses are suffering from stress, such as lethargy, erratic behaviour, reduced appetite, and even fever.

Nutritional support

Good nutrition goes a long way in supporting the horse’s immune system.  A well-balanced diet, access to adlib forage and free access to clean water, are all essential to maintaining and supporting a healthy immune system.

Owners should take care in ensuring that they feed for their horse’s own situation though, and not just take a lead from what others feed.  A horse at rest or in low levels of work will require a substantially different feeding schedule and feeding level, than a sports horse in high levels of work or travelling for competition.

No matter whether you are caring for a retired horse or whether you’re supporting an equine athlete, supplementing their diet with additional nutrients can help combat the effects of stress and support a healthy immune system.

How can Elite Equine rosehip supplement help?

Rosehips are one of the richest plant sources of Vitamin C, as well as possessing powerful natural antioxidant properties that act to soak up excess free radicals.  The powerful Vitamin C and antioxidant combination provides additional support to the horse’s immune system.


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