Treating Infertility in Stallions with Homeopathy and Other Alternative Therapies
Having brought in dozens of foals over the years, I have found homeopathy to be very effective in the maintenance of my stallion. It has offered much relief to my mares, corrected some potential problems for both mares and foals and in emergency situations, bought time until a veterinarian arrived. This information is not to be used in lieu of good veterinarian care; rather it is a guide to what homeopathic remedies have been effective in infertility in stallions. I suggest you have a good Materia Medica available to obtain further information on the remedies suggested.
There is very little information about the relationship between nutrition and fertility in stallions, but it stands to reason it must play a significant role. Decreased numbers of spermatozoa has been linked to several causes, these being overfed stallions, vitamin A & E deficiencies and severe under-nutrition. Vitamin A is essential to sperm production and good quality hay is a source of Vitamin A for 6-12 months after harvest. Vitamin A can be stored in the liver from 6-12 months. It is estimated that a stallion's daily requirement for vitamin A is about 2000-5000 i.u. per 50 kg of body weight. Vitamin A can become toxic to the system if it exceeds 10 times that amount. Vitamin E has been linked with an increase of libido and semen quality but no scientific evidence seems to support that. Breeding stallions should be fed a high quality feed but should also be regulated with their amount of daily exercise and or servicing activities. Some problems are isolated to stallions themselves and you should find these guidelines helpful.
INFERTILITY AND TESTICULAR GOOD HEALTH
Though many people have laughed at this technique (frankly I dont know if they were laughing at me or at the technique) but this has been very beneficial for stallions who encounter low sperm counts and low libido whether from aging, the environment, or illness. The technique is called "testicular tapping" and it has been widely used on humans to re-establish libido as well as increase sperm production. I encourage you to try this before you consider any drug therapy. If your stallion is used to you handling him and washing him, then this should not be a problem. If not, I recommend putting your horse in a stock for your safety from being kicked or stepped on until he gets used to your routine. Using your thumb and second finger, tap each of the testicles by lightly flicking the finger against it 3-4 times, 1-2 times per day for about a month. This tapping creates a vibration within the testicles and encourages circulation. Upon reading this, you may think I am nuts, or that it may sound ridiculous, but it works and I have found it to be very beneficial in maintaining the testicular health of stallions. Bear in mind, no one has to know you are doing it. It is an invaluable technique for maintaining a stallion's health.
There are several herbal and homeopathic remedies that are beneficial to maintaining fertility in stallions. The homeopathic remedy Agnus Castus has been used for stallions with lowered sexual function and/or depression particularly if it is accompanied by testicular swelling. Herbal Saw Palmetto (Sabal Serrulata) is very effective in cases of prostate problems and is used as a general tonic for testicular good health. Homeopathic Ustillago or Palladium is effective in stallions who excessively masturbate. Tarentula is effective on stallions with excessive libido. Sulphur is useful when there is a loss of sexual power. Silica is useful for extreme exhaustion after breeding. Staphysagria is indicated for testicle atrophy and self abuse and Thuja is useful for discharges due to infection. Antimonium Crude for the lovesick stallion. Herbal remedies or the use of raw herbs as a supplement include: Bee Pollen, Damiana, Garlic, Ginkgo Biloba, Nettle, Oats and oat straw and red raspberry leaves
TESTICULAR LESIONS AND ORCHITIS (Inflammation of the Testes)
Lesions can occur on the testicles of stallions and can be caused by many things. Swelling of the testicles can occur, and if left untreated some cases can lead to atrophy of the testicular tissue. Orchitis is an inflammation of the testis, caused by pain, redness, and swelling of the scrotum. There are a variety of causes for this and a veterinarian should be consulted to determine the cause, however, there are some very effective homeopathic remedies that have cleared this up.
Homeopathic Apis is a remedy that will aid in reducing swelling of the testicles. Belladonna can be used for acute orchitis, with testicles swollen and or hot accompanied by full bounding pulse, dilated eyes and excitability. Rhododendron is useful for testicular lesions, particularly the left side. Spongia is used for testicular swelling that extends to the epididymis (the tube leading up inside to the bladder) accompanied by pain and or tenderness in the testicles. Aurum Met has been successful in untreated or long-term testicular swelling that has led to abnormal hardening of the organ. This may also be accompanied by depression or a general lack of enthusiasm. Pulsatilla is indicated in testicular swelling that extends all the way along the abdomen and may be accompanied by urethral discharge. Thuja is for abnormal mucous or grayish/greenish type discharges. Zinc is noted for maintaining general good health in stallions. Other alternatives include the herbal form of Agnus Cactus and Saw Palmetto (Sabal Serrulata), which has been useful in treating infertility in both mares and stallions. Follow the guidelines for general health maintenance recommended by your veterinarian.
VIRUSES THAT AFFECT STALLIONS
There are a number of viruses that effect stallions and can be treated effectively with homeopathy. These include the Papovirus, causing warts and papillomata, and the Adenovirus Viruses causing infections characterized by fever and pneumonia, etc. The Herpes Virus is associated with rhinopneumonitis, abortions in mares and coital exanthemia, and the Pox Virus is associated with the horse pox and grease and is relatively uncommon.
The Papovirus can be quickly cleared up in a matter of a week or two with a good herbal tincture liver cleanse. The Adenoviruses can be addressed homeopathically by symptomatology. The Herpes Virus infection can be treated with such remedies as Aconite, Belladonna, Rhus Tox and Natrum Mur in the acute stages and Phosphorous, Bryonia and Antimonium Tart should be considered for the respiratory problems that may occur. This virus should be attended to by a veterinarian.
WOUNDS AND BLOWS TO THE GROIN AREA
There are occasions when stallions are kicked in the groin and this can lead to pain, swelling, bruising and soreness. The main remedy for this is Bellis Perennis, for deep tissue bruising and blows to the groin area. Arnica can also be considered for general pain and trauma. Consider Calendula for skin abrasions as a result of the blow. If any symptom gets worse or other symptoms arise, such as fever, consult with your veterinarian.
Most people do not care much for the job of cleaning a horse's sheath and there are many horses that don't seem to care much for it either! To make your own sheath cleaner, use about 1/4 teaspoon tea tree oil in one cup of sunflower seed oil and put it into a squirt bottle for use. If there is one on hand, I suggest that you do this the first time in a stock for safety reasons. It is best to use vinyl or latex gloves when doing this job. Also, make sure your hands are warm when you start. You may not be well received with cold hands!
Put a teaspoon of this mixture into the palm of your hand and coat your fingertips. This will also act as a lubricant, which will be more comforting. Start with the outside of the rim of the penis and work your fingers into the sheath. Doing this gently will relax the horse and he will start to drop. Clean out any chunks of dirt that form and clean the area thorough. You may also use a bucket of warm soapy water if they are unusually dirty. Keep rinsing and repeat until clean. You may be surprised how far up inside you can reach with your hand. Pat dry with a soft cloth. Rinse off your hand and drop some tea tree oil onto the gloves and coat any areas that look irritated.
NOTE: Do not use the tea tree oil prior to breeding.
If castration becomes necessary, there are remedies that have been very helpful in aiding healing of the area and in reducing pain and soreness after the procedure has been performed. Homeopathic Calendula can be offered in the water bucket or dosed 2-3 times per day to aid in healing. It can be used in a rinse water (and can be in combination with Hypericum) to aid in healing an area from any infection that may occur. Remember Bellis Perennis for soreness in the groin region in general. This is particularly useful for horses who have struggled prior to being castrated. Arnica is for general pain and physical trauma. Use only internally. Interestingly, you will find using Staphysagria, a dose prior to castration, helpful to lessen emotional trauma and to relieve pain in the tissues.
Homeopathy is a wonderful therapy to know. There are many great books on the market and many classes available to those interested in learning more.
This is an informational article only; it is not intended to replace professional veterinary care. The remedies mentioned are suggestions only and the reader is advised to seek the expertise of a veterinarian trained in homeopathy or discuss the use of homeopathic remedies with his holistic veterinarian. Chronic problems are best treated by a professional homeopath.
About the author:
Cheyanne West,C-Hom. is a homeopathic consultant and educator, and is the author of A Natural Path for Horses - A Guide to Homeopathy and Other Alternative Therapies, A Natural Path for Dogs, and Australian Tea Tree Oil - First Aid for Animals. She offers weekend clinics on equine and small animal homeopathy for both professionals and lay people alike. Her mail order catalog - Alternatives - A Natural Path to Animal Health Care offers a wide variety of books, tapes, homeopathic remedies, kits and other alternative products. Send catalog requests to A NATURAL PATH, PO Box 70, Lewis, CO 81327 or visit her web site www.cheyannewest.com.
For additional information, to find a homeopathic veterinarian, for remedy kits, books, and more contact:
The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy (AVH)
751 N.E. 168th Street
North Miami Beach, FL 33162-2427
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA)
2214 Old Emmorton Road
Bel Air, MD 21015
4914 Del Ray Ave.
Bethesda MD 20814