Australian Horses Battling Unusual Neurological Disease
The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is warning Australian horse owners to take precautions against mosquito-borne disease as veterinarians report a growing number of horses with unusual neurological signs in New South Wales (NSW), Victoria, and South Australia.
“These cases are still under investigation; however, they may result from infection with a mosquito-borne virus in the Kunjin-West Nile group,” said Christine Smith, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, of the Equine Veterinarians Australia.
“Clinical signs may include depression and mild colic,” she continued. “These may also include the onset of neurologic signs including increased responsiveness to touch and sound, facial paralysis and difficulty masticating (chewing), hypermetria (incoordinated and exaggerated movement) in forelimbs and weakness in hindquarters, general ataxia (incoordination) and/or recumbency (inability to stand).
“Most of the horses involved appear to be recovering slowly, however there have also been reports of a few deaths,” said Smith.
The NSW Department of Industry and Investment is requesting bloods samples (serum and heparin) be submitted to the relevant laboratory, and follow-up blood samples submitted at seven days and three weeks after the onset of clinical signs.
All of the horses tested by the NSW Department of Industry and Investment so far have been negative for Hendra virus.
Veterinarians recommend using fly protection products (fly sheets, fly spray, etc) on horses in these areas. It is also advisable to try to keep horses inside during dawn and dusk (peak mosquito times) to help reduce their exposure to mosquitoes. If a horse is exhibiting neurological clinical signs the owner should consult a veterinarian immediately.
The Adaptation of the Horstmann Technique for Horses
For anyone who has not heard of the Horstmann Technique, here’s a short synopsis for you:
It is a simple non-invasive body therapy that releases physical, emotional and mental blockages.
These blockages can cause postural misalignments and imbalances in biochemistry, as well the sometimes inappropriate ways in which we respond emotionally to certain situations. Carrying these conditions can predispose us to further illness and accidents.
The Horstmann Technique relieves conditions of: Back pain, Neck and shoulder pain, Sciatica Structurally based headaches, Migraines, Sports injuries, Stress, Depression, Emotional imbalances.
And now we can apply this same technique to relieve the suffering of all animals, but specifically our focus is on our beloved horses.
Onessa and Carrie Rainwater, based in Adelaide, have been using the Horstmann Technique on a sampling of horses used for a variety of purposes, most recently on racing harness horses, stock horses and personal pleasure horses. The results have been most gratifying to say the least. Here are just some of the beneficial results:
1. An Arabian-cross gelding, obviously not having any manners or regard for his human carers, pushy and hard to handle from the ground, ungrounded and unbalanced in this stance and unfocused in his demeanour – now standing four-square and balanced, much friendlier (comes close unbidden), is more easily handled from the ground, and can better manage being ridden up and down hills.
2. A brilliant older stock mare, ridden hard for most of her life because she always gave 110%, standoffish to strangers as if she had no time for people so perhaps she felt a little “used” and not acknowledged for her unstinting work ethic. When receiving a Horstmann Technique session, it was very obvious that she received the work at a very deep level which allowed her to relax and not feel that she had to push herself to the limit every time she is ridden. Most certainly she welcomes the treatments and presents herself willingly of her own accord to receive.
3. A Warmblood mare handled with extreme difficulty by people other than her owner – dispatched farriers, veterinarians etc with alacrity! Would not allow Onessa to touch her to do the treatment either, and so the entire work was done standing back a little from her and doing the work by ‘intentionally’ directing the work to the points through the hands and fingers as if she was actually touching the mare’s body. The mare certainly softened during the treatment – stretching the jaws to adjust the poll area, licking and chewing, eyelids fluttering in an effort to remain open etc. Usually this mare, when turned loose, would charge at the gallop pell-mell to rejoin her stablemates further out in the paddock, but this time, she cantered away in a beautiful controlled cadenced gait, lovely to behold, and very unusual for her.
In addition to the very obvious positive results that are being demonstrated, there are further benefits to be had by working on the rider in addition to the horse. Case in point: a horse with a mysterious lameness in a front leg that could not be diagnosed with veterinarian examination clearly became sound when the rider’s ‘frozen’ shoulder was released with a couple of sessions of Horstmann Technique.
Besides conducting a private practice in Adelaide for the Horstmann Technique for Animals (focusing on horses) Carrie and Onessa are also teaching the technique incorporating an Introductory 2-day course for learning how to use points of the Arm/Shoulder Release, points of the Ileo/Sacral Release technique and the Foot Release for yourself and your family, followed by the Horstmann Technique on horses- this in order for you to assist both yourself and your horse into greater fluidity and pain-free expression of movement.
Carrie and Onessa can be reached through their business, Southern Essentials. Email: email@example.com Ph: (08)8296-3827