The role of the immune system is to defend the horse’s body against foreign invaders or pathogens, which may cause disease or infections and include bacteria, viruses, fungal invaders, foreign proteins or parasites. If the immune system is compromised, it may not be able to effectively combat these challenges, and health and performance can be affected.
All horses’ and ponies’ immune systems are under constant challenge, and research has shown that stress can also result in a less efficient immune system. Common stressors may include intense training regimes and competition programmes, frequent travelling, stabling away from home at shows with large numbers of other, unfamiliar horses, irregular feeding times, changes in management routines, poor nutrition and disruptions to social interactions (new horses entering or leaving the normal grouping).
In addition, old or very young horses will often have an immune system which may doesn’t function as well as it should, increasing the risk of disease in these groups.
The immune system has 3 main lines of defence:
Physical barriers – including the skin, the cornea of the eye, and the membranes lining the respiratory tract, the digestive tract and the reproductive and urinary tracts. When these barriers are intact and healthy, they can stop many invaders from entering the body and causing disease. These physical barriers are further supported by the microbiome – the population of beneficial micro-organisms, which can help to destroy invaders, especially in the gut
Innate or non-specific immunity – if the physical defences are breached – perhaps by bacteria entering a wound in the skin, or the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract are overwhelmed by airborne viruses, the immune system recognizes these harmful invaders, and very rapidly, special cells release chemical messages, both to set up the inflammatory response (which we may see as heat, swelling and pain), and to alert the next phase of defence. This initial rapid innate or non-specific response doesn’t differentiate between the different types of invaders, but just sends white blood cells to the area of invasion, to kill the invading organisms.
Specific or adaptive immunity – Once this rapid response is underway, the specific response to the particular invader can begin, and this adaptive immune system “learns” the best way to attack and destroy each different pathogen, creating an “immune memory” so when that invader is encountered again, the specific immune system can send more white blood cells and antibodies to attach to the surface of the bacteria or virus, and stop it multiplying and infecting other healthy cells.
This whole process begins in a matter of seconds, and can last for days, or even weeks! Targeted nutrition for horses and ponies when their immune system is compromised, or not working as it should, can help to support the immune system and encourage the healing and recovery process.
Emune Solution is a powerful blend of plant-based compounds and nutrients designed to provide support to the immune system. Horses and ponies who are unwell, and in particularly sick or unthrifty foals should always receive veterinary attention.
What are the benefits of Emune?
Emune Solution is a palatable liquid formulation, which can be mixed in feed, or syringed as required.
- Provides Echinacea, which has been shown to support both red and white blood cells, as well as Astragalus a plant root thought to help strength and regulate the immune system.
- Antioxidant Vitamins C and E are also provided to support immune function, in addition to plant- based antioxidants Blueberry and Turmeric.
- Yeast-derived nucleotides help provide support to the gut-based immune system increasingly recognized as playing an important role in maintaining health and well-being. .
Emune Solution is also suitable for foals needing additional immune support, and should be fed at a suitably reduced rate based upon bodyweight.