EPM Recovery at its Best - Great News for EPM Horses!

By Kate Hester

Successful EPM Treatment

Charles performing Dressage in 1992. Charles was diagnosed with EPM and equine recurrent uveitis; he is currently on the Vita Royal program.

Fox Haven Farm is a beautiful, first class horse facility in Clarksville, Michigan. Most of the time it operates as a boarding and training facility, but as need arises and space allows, it also serves as an EPM Rehabilitation Center. In 1998, owner Sue Hinz participated in clinical trials for Vita Royal Products, Inc., treating eight EPM-diagnosed horses. The results were so successful – with all eight horses returned to their owners to lead nearly normal lives – that she has continued to accept horses for EPM rehabilitation and has experienced the same positive results. Most of the horses accepted for EPM treatment at Fox Haven Farm had previously undergone months of traditional veterinary treatment, and vets and universities had given up hope of recovery.

Two other EPM Rehabilitation Centers have similar track records using the Vita Royal protocol for EPM, and many more confirmed EPM horses across North America have recovered using the same treatment administered by their owners.

The Vita Royal program is the result of twenty-three years of study by biochemist Linsey McLean, founder of Vita Royal Products, Inc. Her EPM protocol is a holistic treatment program which includes special diet and nutritional supplements, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage and exercise.

The Root Cause

The buildup of solvents, herbicides, pesticides and industrial chemicals adversely affects the endocrine, immune and other systems of the body, weakening them and making the body more susceptible to infections. The program reestablishes normal body chemistry, which has been compromised by constant exposure to environmental chemicals.


The horses are prescribed a high protein diet devised by Linsey McLean and it is designed to be consumed with Vita Royal’s supplements. Nutritional supplementation consists of an upper gastric liquid buffer called Nutrient Buffer, and a powder with time-release buffers and a special balance of vitamin/mineral mix called EPM formula. This EPM supplement in no way resembles other EPM supplements on the market, which are intended to counteract the side effect of allopathic drug therapies. The Vita Royal EPM supplement addresses biochemical changes that make the horse susceptible to EPM.

Conventional Treatment of EPM

The current conventional approach to EPM (Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis) is based on targeting the sarcocystis neurona, the organism thought until recently to be the only species to cause EPM. However, a recent news release from University of California at Davis reports isolating a neospora protozoan from an EPM horse, and identifies it as the cause of the disease in that horse. It is possible that many other species of protozoa can and do cause EPM.

This provides a logical explanation for the false negative test results (testing only for sarcocystis) that make diagnosing EPM so difficult, and also explains the failure of drug therapies that target only the sarcocystis protozoa.

Treat the Horse, Not the Disease

The Vita Royal program aims at resolving the predisposing factors leading up to EPM. Instead of treating the EPM or killing the protozoa that carry the disease, the Vita Royal approach changes the internal environment of the horse. Treating this disease by killing the infecting organisms, no matter which or how many species are involved, will not result in recovery because the environment of the body has not been changed to be resistant to further invasion by more of the same organisms. Vita Royal promotes healthy intestinal function to prevent further protozoal invasion from the digestive tract, where they do no harm, into the blood where they are carried throughout the body and create the disease. The program also revives the immune system so that it can resume its function of fighting the protozoa.

Since this program addresses the compromised chemistry of the horse, it is successful in many conditions in addition to EPM.

The Role of Acupuncture

Acupuncture plays a dual role in the Vita Royal treatment of EPM. A diagnosis of EPM can be discovered or confirmed by acupuncture. It has been found that certain acupoints are pathognomonic to EPM – that is, the points specifically indicate the presence of this disease. Caution should be exercised when exploring the EPM acupoints. Stimulation of an EPM point, due to the point's extreme sensitivity, can result in a very sudden reaction such as a dangerous kick.

The Vita Royal program also utilizes a centuries-old procedure called autogenous vaccination. This involves taking blood from the patient and immediately injecting it back into the patient, in this case at the EPM specific acupoints. The idea behind this procedure is to stimulate the immune system. The vascular system is somewhat insulated so that foreign agents which are present in the blood may not yet have entered the rest of the body and the immune system may not be responding to the foreign agents. But when the blood with the foreign bodies is injected into muscle, an alarm is sent to the immune system, which is then called into action.

Exercise and Retraining

According to Sue Hinz, if the Vita Royal protocol is strictly followed, most, if not all symptoms can be eliminated or significantly reduced. Not only that, but many owners of recovered horses tell of positive changes in behavior and resolution of performance problems that were not identified as associated with EPM. Hinz stresses the importance of recognizing any problems the horse may have in addition to or in conjunction with the symptoms associated with EPM. This is one area where the EPM Rehabilitation Centers provide a vital service to the busy or inexperienced horse owner.

Correct exercise and riding is critical. The horses will alter their way of going as the EPM advances. They have been compensating for faulty movement and faulty neurological impulses for some time, even before diagnosis of EPM. Diagnosis generally results when they can no longer compensate for abnormal movements on their own and display the faulty movements characteristic of EPM. It is important to be able to recognize these compensations and ride in a manner which will retrain correct movement by finding new cues for old responses.

Sue Hinz says, “The program works when the owner is dedicated to following the Vita Royal program. It is important to recognize other problems the horse has in addition to the EPM and work to correct them as well as the effects of EPM. These horses may have other longstanding physical problems that are not related to EPM, such as arthritis. It is important to identify all causes of performance limitations and correct them, including proper farrier work, chiropractic and dentistry. The exercise program must be customized to each horse and used in conjunction with the Vita Royal program for the best results within the limits of the horse’s ability.”

Length of Treatment

Most horses respond positively to the Vita Royal program within a week. Many have no symptoms and are considered recovered after eight weeks, but occasionally treatment can continue up to four months for the most critical cases. Recovery time frame is heavily dependent upon how long conventional drug therapy was used, the drug dosages administered, the state of the gastrointestinal tract (as horses often have ulcers or GI damage from one or more insults), and steroid usage. Severity of neurological symptoms is less of a factor in recovery time.

As the EPM epidemic worsens, restoring health and neurological function following extensive drug treatment is getting more difficult and taking longer. This may be because the newer drugs are more toxic or because the environmental factors are getting worse.

Lifetime Maintenance

It must be emphasized that, since the horses are returning to the very same environment that precipitated the EPM in the first place, it is likely that without continuing the Vita Royal support the horse will relapse. Maintenance includes not only the Vita Royal feed recipe and EPM vitamin/mineral supplement, but also good farrier care, chiropractic as needed, appropriate deworming and proper dentistry. No additional vitamin/mineral supplements should be required for horses maintained on this program.

Charles, whose sire is First Secretary, the first son of the famous Secretariat; Charles' breeding on his dam's side is pure Appaloosa. Charles himself sports no spots, but he does have an unusual coat that changes almost weekly.

Buddy, a 20-something year-old Quarter Horse, who suffered a devastating spider bite, is also currently on the Vita Royal program. Because its purpose is to boost the immune system and improve overall health through proper nutrition, the Vita Royal Program is beneficial for all kinds of health problems, not just EPM.

EPM Rehabilitation Centers

Hundreds of horse owners have followed the Vita Royal protocol and restored their EPM horses to health. However, there are many advantages to sending an afflicted horse to a rehab center. The centers are staffed by knowledgeable people who have experience in treating EPM horses and in following the Vita Royal program to the letter. They are able to arrange for acupuncture and chiropractic care as required. The staff have years of horse experience, so can identify and treat other problems the horse may be experiencing. They are able to tailor an exercise program to the individual horse in order to enable the animal to relearn the correct neural pathways for movement. And last but certainly not least, the staff at the centers will properly administer every step of the program.

Money back guarantee

Vita Royal products all have a money back guarantee. What more could you ask?

About the author:

Kate Hester is a freelance equine journalist and lives with Buddy, Charles, and many other assorted wonderful animals at Lazy Dog Farm. Visit www.users.kih.net/~lazydogfarm/ and http://albums.photopoint.com/j/AlbumIndex?u=252213&a=1874644 for more photos of Buddy's progress.

For more information about the EPM Rehab Centers, call:

Sue Hinz at Fox Haven Farm, Clarksville, Michigan (616) 693-3525

Jim Miner, Linden, Michigan (810) 735-6761

Brett Cain at Liberty Hill Farm, Walton, Kentucky (513) 703-7537

Or contact directly:

Linsey McLean, Vita Royal Products, Inc. (810) 653-5478


Ask Linsey..

By Linsey McLean

This column will be a regular feature in Natural Horse. Your questions are invited.


I have to clarify the "EPM" thing going on in the U.S. here. We are having an epidemic of neurologic disease manifestations in horses and it has been building for many years now. Some of the early university work had identified a protozoan that may be responsible for at least some of the horses' disease; however, many inconsistencies still exist in the whole research model.

I have been mapping the changes in the environment and all living things caused by environmental toxin buildup. These main classes of toxins include pesticides, herbicides and halogens like chlorine, fluorine, bromine and radioactive iodine from nuclear test blasts that interfere with thyroid function, solvents that interfere with hormone functions like estrogen and testosterone, and heavy metals that interfere with nutritional minerals that compound the already severe soil mineral deficiencies that we have that were known as far back as 1936. In short, we have a 911 environmental situation!

Since grazing animals are really the front lines of exposure, and horses are the best markers since they live much longer than slaughter animals, it is only expected that they would be first to be hit so hard.

But what happens to our horses now is in line to happen to us if we don't get the situation in hand shortly. I have been seeing the same biochemical dysfunction in both horses and humans for some time now, and have photographed the same opportunistic organisms in both species.

Many horses are being incorrectly diagnosed as EPM positive, the actual protozoal infection, that are not - yet. Many animals do not have "bugs" in the blood, but an overload of toxic chemicals in the body. These chemicals were known 30 years ago to cause the very same neuro signs that are being described today and attributed only as EPM infection. This is why no drug protocols have yet earned approval for efficacy, and also why I believe that none ever will. The approach is entirely wrong. The chemical overload comes first and opens the door to opportunistic infections of all sorts later on. Addressing the "cause of the cause of the cause" is the only sensible and intelligent way to proceed. This is the direction of the educational process I am ushering in. Hopefully it will catch on and we can make some real progress.

Linsey McLean, biochemist, is the founder and CEO of Vita Royal Products, Inc. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan with specialties in Biology, Chemistry and Clinical Microbiology.

Linsey has been granted several U.S. Patents and has been honored with prestigious awards. In 1983 and 1984, Vita Royal was chosen as official supplier for the U.S. Equestrian team. Both custom and commercial supplements were formulated for the Olympic team which, incidentally, won record number of gold and silver medals. She is also, of course, a horse owner.