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NATURAL HORSE BLOG

GARLIC, HORSES AND EQUINE ANEMIA:

I discovered many years ago, through my research into plant toxicities in horses, that Garlic is one of the compounds that can cause serious health issues for our Equine friends, and is directly associated with a condition in horses called Heinz Body Anemia leading to Hemolytic Anemia.

Heinz Body is a condition that occurs when otherwise healthy red blood cells are covered with damaged hemoglobin cells that contain little “bubbles”. The damage is caused by a substance contained in the Garlic called thiosulfates. This then leads to Hemolytic Anemia, which is when the cells burst, and obviously that stops the damaged cells from doing their job of feeding the body, leading to low iron levels and many health issues associated with that including liver damage and the reduction in red blood cells amongst reduced platelets and more.

This Heinz Body is shown in black covering the cells in the photo.Yet despite this info being public knowledge for more than a decade we still see so many people selling Garlic for horses....it's in licks, sprays, herbal remedies, tincturs, pelleted foods and more.A lot of people have seen health benefits from eating small amounts of Garlic, that in smaller quantities is good for humans, and due to that perhaps some assume Garlic has the same benefits for their beloved equine friends.However the study attached clearly shows that Heinz Body Anemia was induced in healthy horses by feeding freeze dried Garlic and that further research is needed to discover if there is a safe dose rate, and if so, what that is.

So due to these negative associations with Garlic we would advise caution and to stop feeding it to your horses until we know more, as clearly much more research is needed in the area before we risk our precious horses health.We hope this helps you to make a well informed decision when feeding your horses.Here is a abstract from the research paper that you might find useful:

For a comprehensive horse feeding plan that does not include garlic please see our link