The traditional drug therapy, which consists of Sulfadiazine and
Pyrimethamine in a liquid base or powder base, is usually feed to the horse at a rate of
(grams if in the powder form) daily depending on the weight of the animal. Pyrimethamine is basically a folic-acid
inhibitor. The protozoans that are in your horse need folic acid to reproduce. Without
folic acid, the protozoans will slowly die off.
This tradition blend [one which we tend to call "The Trads" short for Traditonal
treatment] is not a cidal drug, it indirectly affects the reproduction of the
protozoan. The catch is that some horses become extremely anemic during
treatment due to folic acid inhibitors in this drug combo and may need folic
acid supplementation which can greatly affect the efficiency of the drugs being
What is folic acid? Vitamin B9 is folic acid or Folicin. It is water soluble and it is
present in the foliage of certain plants and is considered an anti-anemia vitamin.
The average horse needs approximately 20mg daily . Folic acid is essential for the
production of red and white blood cells. Folic acid is found in fresh grass and
roots. . Once a grass is dried for hay consumption, it loses its folic acid content.
What is anemia?? Anemia is a shortage of hemoglobin in the blood, and this can be as a
result of a reduced number of circulating red blood cells or the reduction of hemoglobin
or a combination of both. When this happens, the blood cannot carry its normal amount of
oxygen and the tissues become starved of oxygen. Oxygen is needed for energy An
anemic animal is usually very lethargic, with a dull eye and poor hair coat, brittle hoofs
and pale skin color.
What You Can Do !
There are several different things you can do besides giving your horse
the folic acid supplements. First off, provide as much good, fresh clean hay as you can
and adding some alfalfa would be helpful....
All root vegetables are very rich in folic acid, such as carrots ! Carrots
are also very rich in beta carotene as well. Feed lots of carrots !!!
There are several herbs that will help with anemia. The very best herbs to help are blood
purifying and blood enriching herbs. These would include Red clover blossoms, Burdock
root, Chickweed, Dandelion leaf, Fenugreek seed, Hawthorn berries, Kelp, Marshmallow root,
Plantain and Nettle. Nettle is very rich in iron. We carry a good Blood Building
Blend just for the EPM horse, or I can mix you up a custom blend to your or your
There is an exception to every rule of course. I have received reports
that some horses are becoming very ill and extremely anemic only one or two months into
traditional sulfadiazine/pyrimethamine treatment.
Usually anemia will start around the 4th or 5th month into treatment
and some horses on the other hand, don't have any problem with anemia at
The horses that have become so badly anemic
that the treatment had to be stopped and folic acid fed daily to build them back up.
So far, we
haven't been able to understand WHY this happens to one EPM positive horse and not
another. My own horse was on 50cc daily of traditional meds for eleven months and we did
run blood tests every 7 weeks and he never become anemic. He was
NOT getting the folic acid supplements, but was getting 8,000iu
of Vitamin E daily and several herbal blends as well. I am assuming that all the
herbs and B-12 and B-15 vitamins (which does contain a small amount of folic acid) were
helping to offset this problem. He was also receiving a liquid vitamin supplement called
X-Cell two times a day as well, which contains about 7mg of folic acid. My personally
opinion is that I was not over supplementing him with Folic acid. He was well under the
20mg daily allowance. But, the pure Folic acid supplements that are sold specifically for
the EPM horse seem to run high, at around 40mg .
also reports of horses having some sort of allergic reaction to
folic acid supplements themselves, and these horses seem to improve when folic acid
supplementation has been stopped.
Everyone should evaluate there own horse and decide what is best for them.
Each horse is different. EPM affects each and every horse differently. Only you can be the
judge of what is best for your horse