I’ve gradually added about half a cup of MSM to Asad’s medicinal mush. His joints all suddenly began clicking when he moved and and when I brushed him it sounded like I was running a brush over a piece of corrugated cardboard. I tried to do a little more ground work with him, but strapping a surcingle around his ribs left a line of tender swollen tissue topped by crinkly corrugated skin.
Merck Veterinary manual offers this description of how horse skin repairs and renews itself:
‘Keratinocytes provide a protective layer that is constantly being renewed in a process called keratinization. In this process, new skin cells are created near the base of the epidermis and migrate upwards. This produces a compact layer of dead cells on the skin surface. This layer keeps in fluids, electrolytes, and nutrients, while keeping out infectious or noxious agents. The top layer of dead skin cells are continuously shed and replaced by cells from lower layers.
The rate of cell replacement is affected by nutrition, hormones, tissue factors, immune cells in the skin, and genetics. Disease and inflammation can also change normal cell growth and keratinization.‘
MSM is a vital component for producing new skin cells, cartilage and collagen as well as the detoxifying antioxidant glutathione. His joints are no longer clicking, and his irritable gut is less reactive. MSM’s support of healthy lung tissue has helped reduce Asad’s coughing and runny nose from the New Mexico fires constant smoky haze.
Then spring shedding itchies during our unseasonably hot May weather turned into him rubbing sores into his sides. I had wondered why he had scars on the ends of his floating ribs. They could have been from being chivvied and nipped when he was a colt.
But it appears that, like most of Asad’s health issues, his skin sores are the result of long standing inflammation, malnutrition and most likely parasites. Diagnosing skin parasites in horses is a challenge, and even vets are reduced to tryng Ivermectin to see if that will help him heal. While I am hoping that Ivermectin will kill off any parasites burrowing around in his skin, I am using aloe vera gel, carrot seed and vetiver oil topically to reduce his symptoms.