The effects of Garlic for Horses

Supplementation of garlic for horses has been a long and continuous debate. Additional research is required, however, it has been stated that garlic has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic effects. Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which is released when garlic is chewed or crushed. Allicin is a natural defence mechanism for garlic cloves against pathogens in the soils. When fungi or other soil pathogens attack the cloves, allicin is released and the anti-bacterial, antiseptic and antibiotic action takes place. It has also been stated that garlic supplementation assists in improving equine respiratory problems, acts as a natural fly repellent and maintains beneficial gut flora.

Garlic for horses is a popular supplement as it is rich is selenium and sulfur. Sulphur is recognized as having blood-cleansing properties that are useful in treating and preventing equine disease. However, it is essential that over supplementation of garlic does not occur. If too much is provided in the equine diet, a toxic element known as N-propyl disulfide accumulates in the body. N-propyl disulfide alters an enzyme present within the blood cell, which in turn depletes the cell of phosphate dehydrogenase, a chemical responsible for protecting the cell against natural oxidative damage. If an overdose of garlic is provided and more red blood cells are prematurely damaged, your horse becomes anaemic.

The NRC (2009) reported that while more data is needed, intake levels of 15mg/kg of body weight per day of dried garlic powder on a long-term basis were unlikely to result in a risk of adverse events such as anaemia, in horses under normal circumstances.

Ranvet’s Grand Prix Oil contains natural garlic oil well below this safe level to ensure your horse benefits from the antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties without breaching the safety level. Garlic for horses is extremely palatable ensuring that horses enjoy their feed. Grand Prix Oil provides a 1:3 Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acid ratio and is a cool energy source that does not excite horses as seen with high grain diets.

Written By Ranvet Nutritionist: Eliza Barton BAn Vet Bio Sc (Hons)


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