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Discussion on Long term effects of feeding Valerian?

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Larissa P
Member
Username: Larissap

Post Number: 7
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Saturday, Oct 15, 2005 - 10:34 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I would like to know this as well. I have a TB on stall rest right now, has been for 3 weeks and he is going nuts when I take him out to walk and groom. Even walking him 2 hours a day and lunging him at a walk for a half hour aren't cutting it. He has a hoof injury and the coronet band has been severed, hence no loose turnout which he is accustomed to normally for at least 8-10 hours a day in a big pasture. The Horse Store has recommended Special Calmer which contains valerian and I'm not sure if I should try it or not. Also is it OK for prolonged use?
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WTG
Member
Username: Angel77

Post Number: 52
Registered: 5-2005
Posted on Sunday, Oct 16, 2005 - 8:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dear Larissa,

After a week of stall rest my horse can be pretty crazy.

I use Acepromezine for the horses who are on hand walk for a couple of weeks.

For the horses who have more severe injuries(3-9 months) I use Fluphenazine. Some horses have an adverse reaction to it. I do not know the statistics-maybe 1 in a million. All I know is that it really worked for my horses. They got better and did not hurt themselves or anyone else in the healing process.

Hope your horse is better soon!!!

Good Luck,

WTG
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Larissa P
Member
Username: Larissap

Post Number: 8
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Sunday, Oct 16, 2005 - 9:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Are these narcotics? I don't need him to develop an addiction or extenuating difficulties healing. The Special Calmer doesn't appear to be doing much for him. It's cold here now and neither of us wanted much to be outside today but he's as nutty as a peanut butter sandwich and even though it's supposed to be 'hand-walking' it turns out to be more of a session of just struggling keeping him from bolting even though normally he's a pet. He's a big horse and scares other people more than he does me when he gets like this as I know him well and can always bring him back to earth. I'm more worried he'll hurt himself in the stall when I'm not there. Plus he's supposed to take it easy in order to heal. As an offtrack race horse(was raced until 2 years ago, going on 13)he's very happy when he can run and kick up his heals and not so much when he can't. Do you know how long these 2 meds can be used? Guess I'll look up what Dr. O has to say.
Thanks for replying!
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Brandi Reinert
Member
Username: Brandi

Post Number: 74
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Sunday, Oct 16, 2005 - 9:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Larissa,
They are not narcotics, they are herbals (but isn't the line between a little fuzzy sometimes?). But just like narcotics, some herbals come with side-effects. I'm no expert on any of this but here's what my experience is: When my horse tore his ddft and had to be stall-bound I began using Calm & Cool daily pellet (don't confuse with the paste--totally different ingredients) which has valarien along with other herbals. I do believe it made a difference for him (he's an emotional critter and can be quite a handful). I kept him on it for about 9 months, then when I read somewhere that in humans it can cause some side effects when they stop taking it, I took him off of it immediately. Sorry I don't remember any of the details of what I read or where. He didn't seem to have any withdrawls being off of it for a month or so, and I put him back on for a couple more months. I finally took him off of it for financial reasons (I wanted to start feeding him hylasport otc-very expensive--so the farrier's formula and the C&C had to go!). And our routine and relationship was much improved so all was well.
My husband is a healthfood/supplement junkie and believes personally that the ingredients in C&C are good and very safe. All I can say is that my horse did fine and I would use it again if I needed to.
By the way, the paste has tryptophan and I don't like using that one unless I really need to (like before the Rose Parade or something). Oh, one more thing, some folks say that the valerian also calms smooth-muscle like the lining of the gut, which, if true, might help an anxious horse that is prone to colic or ulcers (but to contradict, mine had a bout with ulcers during his early days of confinement, but whose to say it wasn't more or less severe because of the C&C?). Nothing scientific in my words here (that I'm aware of), just beliefs from people I know who use a great deal of these types of remedies, and my own personal experience.
Good luck.
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Larissa P
Member
Username: Larissap

Post Number: 9
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Sunday, Oct 16, 2005 - 10:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes, you never know what something may do so I'm trying to err on the side of caution. I've darn near killed the horse a few times from lack of knowledge. This injury was severe, 3 inches torn off the coronet band and a considerable amount of hoof as well. The vet is pleased with the progressive hoof growth and we only have an inch or so of coronet to regrow. He's set himself back several times by being turned out in the dry arena and running around and overdoing it we think. Both times he's been turned out inadvertently (weekend staff at the stable not following directions) and come up 3-legged lame the next day. He comes sound when he's on bute. We've ruled out abscess but that's the reason for the stall rest, to prevent abscess in the last little bit yet to heal near the heel bulb.
It's an ordeal but he's fully worth the patience(going on 2 1/2 months now since we rode)
but I only have a few hours a day to devote to getting him out and my heart bleeds for his boredom. I can't even find anything other than a rubber ball for him for a toy...
Thanks for the input.
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: Hwood

Post Number: 794
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Sunday, Oct 16, 2005 - 10:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Larissa, you can hang plastic milk jugs with pebbles in them . . . hang some bells or tie some large doggie chew toys to his stall . . . There are some interesting "horse pacifiers" available in some catalogs, and I even got some interesting play toys at a consignment tack shop.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 937
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Sunday, Oct 16, 2005 - 11:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

One of the favorite horse toys around here is an old bicycle tire with the air nipple cut off, or the inner tub3e from the tire. When one of our stallions was laid up for a few months he played with one of these a lot. ( We were lucky because he remained very easy to hand walk during that time.)

When you have time, there are a lot of ground work type things you can do to get the horse moving around a little yet keep his mind busy so he's under control and not bouncy - stuff like working n side passes, backing, walking over and through things, even some tricks if you really want to get "fancy."
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Fran C
Member
Username: Canter

Post Number: 319
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Monday, Oct 17, 2005 - 8:14 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Didn't someone recommend at one point an unbreakable mirror in the stall to keep a stall bound horse "company"? I seem to remember a few posts about that within the last year or so. Larissa, you may want to run a search on mirror and see if you can find them
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 13923
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Oct 17, 2005 - 8:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Not only do we have articles on sedatives but an article on maintaining horses in stalls, see Training Horses » Behavioral Problems » Stall Resting Horses.
DrO
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Pepette
Member
Username: Pepette

Post Number: 8
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Friday, Feb 3, 2006 - 5:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Brandi,

I believe that Larissa was referring to the Ace (tranquilizer), and Fluphenazine (an antipsychotic used for schizophrenics) in the previous post by WTG when she asked if they were narcotics. I know a lot of horses that could use some Fluphenazine :-)
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Larissa P
Member
Username: Larissap

Post Number: 10
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Saturday, Feb 4, 2006 - 11:22 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

As an update: My big TB is fully healed now. We rode for the first time on, fittingly enough, Remembrance Day and he's been sound since. There isn't even a scar left from the injury! I have kept him on the valerian even so. Mine is called Special Calmer and he really likes it mixed into his beet pulp. Knock on wood, no adverse effects yet. I think he has a good constitution. Bad feet but better all the time on the Farrier's Formula. He's turned back out to pasture again, this time with the 'fat geldings' as the stable owner refers to them. So far so good as far as him over-doing it and he's back to being my good boy again. Thanks for the advice.
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Imogen Bertin
Member
Username: Imogen

Post Number: 737
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Sunday, Feb 5, 2006 - 4:47 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Horses here in Ireland eat wild valerian growing off the ditches (field boundaries) - well some do, a lot don't like the taste - and I've never seen one show any particular effects from it good or bad.

I don't know that there's any evidence it does anything to horses, they'd have to be getting a pretty huge dose as it's not particularly effective in humans...

Glad your horse is better though... My experience is that they get resigned to 24 x 7 stall rest, the difficult bit is when you're supposed to keep them on rest but also hand walk them.

Imogen
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Pepette
Member
Username: Pepette

Post Number: 14
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Sunday, Feb 5, 2006 - 2:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I discovered valerian about 3 years ago after dealing with a very "up" thoroughbred sport horse that could be dangerous at times. His movement was outstanding, and he was very big-bodied and warmblood-looking, and I wanted to keep him. The first two weeks didn't make much of a difference, and I was going to abandon it, but my trainer at the time suggested to up the dosage (he was only getting half the usual dose).

I swear it made all the difference in the world. He became a complete puppy dog, and performed willingly and stopped spooking, too.

I wondered if it was because of the time I was putting into him, and not the valerian, so we slowly titered him off of it, and slowly the old personality returned. Put him back on it, and he became docile once again.

My new trainer thinks that it is because I was more confident when I knew he was on valerian. I don't know if it was by accident, or by design, but he stopped getting his supplements consistently (without my knowledge).

He started spooking and acting belligerent in the indoor arena during lessons and practice, and I couldn't figure it out why.

It was time for his 30 days worth of supplements to be depleted so I went to make him more. I found more than a week's worth left. As of that morning, his supplement drawer should have been completely empty.

So now I REALLY believe that the valerian is making the difference, not my confidence.

This is a new trainer. She did not know this horse pre-valerian, and she was sure that he was a very calm, consistent boy, and that the problem was me. Now that she has seen what he can really be like, I am hoping that the supplements will be given more consistently (or I will MAKE sure). She is also giving me tools to deal with blow ups and spooks so I he stays focused and I don't get hurt.

He has been on valerian for 3 years now, and I have not seen any long-term effects, aside from the dramatic calming effect. The first time I hear of any long-term, adverse effects, he is going to be titered off it, though.

I've heard it doesn't work for every horse.
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Larissa P
Member
Username: Larissap

Post Number: 11
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Sunday, Feb 5, 2006 - 2:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Very interesting as your horse sounds just like mine. He's an offtrack TB, raced until he was 10, now 13. During his second week of stall rest he had taken to coming out of the barn on his hind legs pawing at the air and trying to break away. Nothing short of a formidable sight when you consider he's a hair short of 17 hands and weighs in at 1400 lbs. of solid muscle. Most people where I board own those docile little QH's so most would be aghast at his uppity spooky behavior. We've been back at work for about 3 months now and as I said i will continue with the valerian. He used to shy at the silliest things in the most familiar areas pre-valerian and now he's just like you described your horse. Docile and obedient and seldom if ever spooks at anything even on a windy day outside. I am a firm believer that my boy will be a good dressage horse although i have heard that you cannot have him on valerian if you want to compete.
Good luck with yours and please let me know if you ever hear anything about it being bad for the, he is so special to me...
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Pepette
Member
Username: Pepette

Post Number: 15
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Sunday, Feb 5, 2006 - 10:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

That's true, Larissa. In rated shows, our babies have to be valerian-free. What I am doing is taking him through lots of schooling shows that are not USDF, and accumulating positive experiences for both of us, so we are building our confidence in each other. It's worked so far, although this Spring we are ready to graduate to the upper levels. I will take him off during the show season, then put him back on during the winter. Don't know if this will work with him or not, but I'm going to try. The trainer thinks she can help us through it so I can deal with him regardless. It seems to be working. I actually have been dealing better with his bouts of "personality" while the supplement thing was messed up.

I also know what you mean about fellow boarders with docile quarter horses. They think that it is a simple matter of getting on the horse and "making" him behave, and I am not a good enough rider to make him behave. But there are only a handful of riders that can ride this horse, and our best quarter horse rider always avoids the offer to try my horse out.

Only after you've ridden on a big, gorgeous thoroughbred, with all the athleticism, grace, brains, and ability, would you understand why people like us continue to work toward a partnership with them.

He's taught me a lot. I've taught him a lot. I wouldn't have come as far as a I have in my abilities if it had not been for the positive and negative experiences we've had. I am grateful to be able to work with him and ride him. I am sure you know the feeling, Larissa.

I think we couldn't have come this far in the same amount of time without the aid of the valerian, though. Well, maybe with thousands of dollars on 3 years of training board...
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