Lynn has owned her Section D gelding, Sprite, since he was 6 months old.
Seen by chance while out cycling on holiday in Wales, Sprite was a welcomed addition to the family, most notably as a companion for the family’s 30 year old Section A, Charlie.
Sprite had been previously diagnosed with EMS (Equine Metabolic Syndrome) in 2015, placing him at high risk of laminitis. Despite this pre-existing condition, a management plan had been set in place to manage this condition.
In November 2019, Sprite suddenly started to lose weight over a 4-5 day period. In the words of owner Lynn “he went from a Shire to a Thoroughbred”. While continuing to eat well, Sprite would spend long periods lying on the floor. When he did stand, he would experience tremors, coupled with holding himself awkwardly, as if struggling to hold his own body weight.
Concerned with his rapid wight loss, Lynn called her vet, who took blood samples, however the results showed no obvious signs or cause.
The results did show high muscle and liver enzymes, characteristics which have been linked to equine motor neuron disease and muscle myopathy, but the symptoms were not conclusive enough to draw a reliable diagnosis.
Finding A Solution
Fraught with stress, Lynn undertook extensive research. The more she researched, the more she came across articles about VEM (Vitamin E Responsive Myopathy).
VEM can be found in a subset of horses with vitamin e deficiency. They may develop clinical signs solely related to muscle wasting (atrophy) and weakness without evidence of damage to motor nerves.
Horses with VEM respond remarkably to alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E) supplementation and can make a complete recovery.
The Science Behind Vitamin E
Vitamin E cannot be synthesized by horses, and is therefore considered an essential nutrient which can only be obtained from the diet. It is essential for healthy functioning of muscles, the immune system, reproductive function and the nervous system.
Vitamin E can be found in abundance in green pasture, however, approximately 30-80% will no longer exist in a useable form in hay/haylage as it is a fragile compound that ‘denatures’ over time once grass has been cut. As a result, horses with limited access to fresh grass can easily develop a Vitamin E deficiency.
Science Supplements Natural E, as the name suggests, provides a natural source of Vitamin E which has up to double the biological activity than cheaper synthetic forms of Vitamin E commonly found in other brands, and is the basis for significant positive results in research.
Natural E also contains organic selenium which complements the effectiveness of Vitamin E.
Lynn immediately started Sprite on a 6,000 IU feeding rate of Natural E (4 scoops). 10 days later, Lynn noticed that the tremors had ceased and Sprite was able to stand up for prolonged periods of time.
Over the next month, Sprite seemed to continue to improve and was able to begin in-hand walking. Three months later, Sprite had put back on the weight he’d lost and returned to his normal Section D personality.
Sprite is now maintained on a Vitamin E feeding rate of 3,000 IU (2 scoops Natural E), coupled with a balanced diet.
“To say it has been a bit of a rollercoaster wouldn’t be far wrong! Overnight our pony was deteriorating before our eyes, it was heart-breaking.
Nothing other than the introduction of Science Supplements Natural E changed. Sprites diet, grazing and training routine all remained the same; the sole change was the introduction of Natural E – without the introduction of this into his diet I doubt Sprite would still be with us today.
I was keen to share my story to raise awareness about the importance of Vitamin E. If sharing this story can help just one other person in a similar situation, that to me will be a success.”
In need of support with your equine? For a Nutritional Consultation for your horse, please contact us.