Background: Environmental pollution, especially pesticides, exposure to heavy metals and radiation contribute to a weakened immune system. Chronic immune suppression can be genetically predisposed, as many people breed horses that are already immune suppressed. Chronic administration of drugs also can weaken a susceptible immune system. Some horses may require greater than "normal" amounts of some nutrients, especially antioxidants.
Symptoms: Occurrence of frequent infections, abscesses, bladder infections, colds, pneumonia, small wounds that will not heal, yeast infections. Other body systems may be involved such as the digestive tract, nervous system, skin, respiratory system, reproductive tract, and the joints of the body.
Diagnostics: Depend on the system(s) involved and the availability of immune function tests; in some cases, the primary diagnostics are a complete history and physical.
Special Notes: Nutritional imbalances and deficiencies are common in commercial diets. Detoxification often helps.
Principles for Supplementation: Supply nutrients that aid the immune system without overloading it.