What is all the Aloe Vera hype?

WHATS ALL THE ALOE VERA HYPE? March 29, 2015 22:34

There are countless uses for Aloe Vera and investigations by veterinary professionals have shown that Aloe Vera is effective in the treatment of a large range of skin problems, joint problems and internal disorders in equines.

Many trainers and riders now give Aloe Vera to their horses as a dietary supplement, significantly enhancing their stamina and performance and reducing competitive stress and post-event fatigue.

Aloe Vera is classified as a mucilaginous and bitter herb. It is beneficial for the skin, stomach, and colon. Aloe’s major properties are as a cell proliferant, healer, demulcent (soothing agent), and allergy reducer. It is high in digestible fiber, which gives it the properties of lowering bowel transit time, absorbing toxins in the bowel, regulating colonic bacteria, and soothing and protecting the digestive tract.

Aloe also contains a complex mixture of mucopolysaccharides (complex sugars) that nourish cells and support them in replicating. This property is especially important for the healing of pre-existing ulcers. The polysaccharides also have an antibiotic action, which can be helpful for horses who have been on buffering agents or other medications that destroy healthy bacterial populations in the gut and allow pathogenic bacteria to multiply.

Aloe Vera is a natural anti-inflammatory and assists in the healing of ulcers by coating the stomach wall and reducing excessive acid. It is beneficial in assisting weight gain, coat, hoof and skin quality.

It has been clinically proven to reduce the effects of scouring in animals. 

Common dosage is 20-30ml morning and night syringed down the throat. The period of treatment can range from 5 days to 4 weeks until improvement is seen. It is also used as an ongoing maintenance programme to alleviate reoccurrence of ulcers. The dosage can then be halved and administered once a day.

The concentrated forms of Aloe include powder and liquid ( please see items on this site) which make up 10lts of liquid each and can be added to feed.

Aloe Vera Gel can be applied to wounds, stings and skin complaints in both humans and animals.

It is completely natural and there are no side effects.



This is a brief guide to using Aloe Vera products to treat the health problems your horse may experience.  Unless you are absolutely sure what is wrong with your horse and are completely confident you can treat it yourself, you should always seek professional help.

ARTHRITIS  Aloe Vera blended with glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM is an excellent and very safe product to give to horses and ponies suffering from joint problems. The Aloe Vera will increase the absorption of the chondroprotective agents thus maximising their benefits. Dosage: 60-250mls per day.(diluted Liquid or Powder concentrates- see this website for products)

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM Aloe Vera can prove very beneficial in helping conditions of the digestive system, particularly where inflammation is involved. Conditions such as stomatitis, gingivitis, and oral and stomach ulceration can all be helped with Aloe Vera. The most useful preparations for use in the mouth are those that are spray based and the gel. More serious conditions such as vomiting and diarrhoea also often respond to oral administration of Aloe Vera Gel combined with bland diets. 

EAR AND EYE PROBLEMS One of the most common ear conditions is otitis externa where infection and inflammation develop in the vertical and horizontal ear canals. These are often mixed infections of mites, bacteria, fungi, and yeasts and may also involve foreign bodies such as grass seeds. Aloe Vera gel can be very useful in treating this condition. Always ensure that a vet sees the ear so that causes such as foreign objects and tumours can be dealt with if present. Eye conditions are potentially more serious and should always be examined by a vet. A dilute solution of Aloe Vera can be helpful for conjunctivitis and keratitis.

ELDERLY HORSES AND PONIES The Aloe Vera gel is an excellent preparation for our more mature equine friends. It acts as a general ‘pick me up’ and helps keep all systems, particularly an immunological system in peak performance. We recommend dosage of 100-120mls per day. Each year vets are called to examine mature horses from January onwards because they are losing weight and showing signs of not coping. When these are examined and blood tested, many show signs of poor digestion and liver/kidney problems usually associated with the ageing process. These animals need a well-balanced, appetising and nourishing diet, protection from the weather, check teeth and worm regularly. As animals age they will develop arthritis and therefore we also recommend they are given Aloe Vera blended with glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM daily.

GASTRIC ULCERS These are most commonly present in over 80% of all horses and up tp 50% of foals are being born with ulcers Since the cause is mainly associated with the way the horses are managed this needs to be corrected first where possible. Aloe Vera gel at a rate of 20mls morning and night ( or diluted liquid concentrate or powder) added to the food is an excellent supplement to correct management. Or 20ml morning and night of the Aloe Gel syringed down the throat. The Aloe coats the stomach wall allowing healling and reduces the acid in the stomach so ulcers dont reoccur.

GRASS SICKNESS This disease is most commonly seen in horses during the spring and in summer when they are at grass. Although the cause remains unknown, it is believed that a neurotoxin present in the grass damages the autonomic nervous system, which controls the movement of the digestive system. In the past most cases were put to sleep because they either were wasting away or suffered from colic. Recently six cases were treated with up to four litres of Aloe Vera gel per day. Initially this was either given by a vet via a stomach tube or by owners giving small amounts at regular intervals throughout the day. All the horses treated in this way made a full recovery.

HEAD SHAKING This is becoming an ever-increasing problem in our horse and pony population and is often difficult to control and can be habit forming. There are a number of causes but one of the most common is seasonal allergy to pollen. Rubbing Aloe Vera gelly into the nostrils twice daily can prove helpful. Always add 120 to 250mls(liquid concentrate-diluted) or Aloe Vera gel to the diet starting as early in the year as possible, reducing to a maintenance dose of 60mls during the winter months. If started early enough, adding bee pollen tablets to the diet can also help. The amount required can vary from 8 to 20 per day, depending on the weight of the horse and the severity of the condition. 

IMMUNE SYSTEM  A number of animal diseases have their origin in the immune system. The most common are asthma, hay fever, rhinitis, arthritis, and lupus. The oral administration of Aloe Vera can be useful in chronic immunological problems.

LAMINITIS It is very important to enlist the help of the pony’s veterinary surgeon and farrier. With correct management Aloe Vera products can help. To help prevent the reoccurrence of this, problem ponies need to be kept on 60 to 120 mls of Aloe Vera gel per day depending on how susceptible they are. Strict control of the diet and regular exercise are essential. If the pony has an acute attack then the vet and farrier should be called immediately and the pony given 200mls of Aloe Vera gel by mouth daily. This level should be maintained until the symptoms improve when it can be reduced to 120mls. When recovered the pony should be kept on 40mls daily. Together with correct management and assistance from a vet and farrier Aloe Vera can help control this problem in 80% of cases. This result will not be achieved with Aloe Vera alone.

MUD FEVER Mud Fever is a dermatitis, which particularly affects the pasterns of both ponies and horses. It does not always have to be associated with muddy conditions. There are frequent cases in the summer when conditions are dry. The lesion consists of scabby areas particularly on the backs of the pastern, which often develop into areas of moist eczema. To help these areas heal; clean them off and break down the scabs gently with Aloe Vera spray before finally applying Aloe Vera gel. In severe cases use Aloe Vera spray and Aloe Vera gel 4-6 times daily. Too much washing creates dampness, which can make the condition worse so it is advisable not to over wash. If the area appears very infected, use an Aloe Vera with propolis cream instead of the gelly.

NAVICULAR DISEASE This is a complex condition because the cause is often related to conformation, shoeing practices and the type of work the horse has done. The picture is further complicated because not only is it bilateral but also it is often present as degenerative joint disease in other joints and today is often referred to as distal limb polyarthritis (D.J.D.) navicular syndrome. Aloe Vera blended with glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM can help if it is combined with corrective and often surgical shoeing (bar shoes). When combined with corrective shoeing use 250mls of Aloe Vera blended with glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM, given as 125mls twice daily until the lameness improves. This should take about 3 months, after this time keep them on a maintenance dose for the rest of their lives of 40mls per day.

OSTEOARTHRITIS This condition is often referred to as degenerative joint disease. Arthritis can occur through age-related wear and tear of a joint or it may be as a result of repeated trauma. Whatever the cause, the end result is changes to the joint cartilage, the synovial membrane and the fluid it produces as well as damage to the bone under the joint cartilage. In horses particular names are given to different areas where arthritis occurs. So you will often hear people referring to ‘ring bone’, ‘spavin’, ‘pedal osteitis’ and ‘navicular disease’. These horses require a combined integrated approach to keep them comfortable and to try and hold back the progression of this disease. This usually involves support for the limb, corrective farriery, rest, physiotherapy, complementary preparations and sometimes drugs. Some cases respond beneficially to the addition of 60mls of Aloe Vera gel to their diets daily. As they improve this can be reduced gradually to a maintenance level of 20mls per day. Even greater benefits can be achieved if similar volumes of Aloe Vera blended with glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM are given instead of plain Aloe Vera gel.

RAIN SCALD This is a condition seen particularly on the backs of horses left out during wet weather. Any area where water accumulates on the skin allows multiplication of spore-forming bacteria, called Dermatophilus Congolensis. This damages the epithelial layer of the skin, allowing secondary opportunist bacteria (such as Staphylococci and Streptococci) to also invade, making the infection worse. Eczema-like lesions develop, similar to ‘mud fever’ of the lower limbs. Always deal with the cause first and bring the horse in from the wet weather. Wash off areas, which are essentially similar to moist eczema (often scabby and matted hair), with a medicated scrub or Aloe Vera . Dry very well. Spray lightly with Aloe Vera spray and rub in Aloe Vera gel. For the first five to seven days expect the ‘healing crisis’, after which the lesions should heal quickly. Any persistent areas with secondary infection can be encouraged to heal using an Aloe Vera with propolis cream rub. Do not repeatedly wash these areas because it will only make the condition worse.


RINGWORM Spray all areas with Aloe Vera . Apply Aloe Vera gel to the infected areas of the skin daily as often as you can. Give Aloe Vera  in feed each day

SKIN PROBLEMS  Aloe Vera is an excellent preparation to use for skin conditions such as allergies, abscesses, fungal infections, pyoderma, and many types of dermatitis. The oral gel can be given in the food, and the topical varieties applied directly to the skin. Aloe Vera will decrease inflammation as well as helping to remove dead cells and discharges. It will encourage a suitable environment for regeneration of cells so aiding the healing of wounds.

SWEET ITCH While sweet itch must be treated conventionally the dermatitis does respond well to Aloe Vera. Firstly wash the area with Aloe Vera soap, dry well, spray the area lightly with Aloe Vera spray and finish off by applying Aloe Vera gel . Adding Aloe Vera gel to the diet would also help. Sweet Itch is an allergic dermatitis set off by biting midges. The dermatitis is easily controlled with Aloe Vera products; the problem is preventing the midges from attacking the horse/pony and the self-mutilation inflicted by the patient. Diluted Aloe Vera cleanser and an Aloe Vera  rub with eucalyptus can help in preventing the insect attacking the animal.

TENDON INJURIES Competition horses frequently strain tendons. This results in an acute inflammatory reaction causing damage to the collagen fibres. It is very important that this inflammatory reaction is limited as soon as possible. Achieve this using cold, pressure, analgesics and rest, (Cold hose the limb, apply frozen crushed Aloe Vera gel in a towel followed by massaging with an Aloe Vera and MSM gel; then a padded pressure bandage and allow plenty of rest). This procedure should be repeated 4-6 times a day while this acute inflammatory condition is present. After a few weeks when this acute heat-forming reaction has subsided then an Aloe Vera  rub with eucalyptus can be applied. Also add Aloe Vera gel, or Aloe Vera blended with glucosamine and chondroitin and MSM, to their diets.

WOUNDS If the wounds are not suturable, excellent healing can be achieved by first cleansing the wound with diluted Aloe Vera  and then dressing the wound with Aloe Vera gel. Most wounds heal up to 35% quicker than when using conventional preparations resulting in less scaring and more hair re-growth.

As you can see Aloe Vera is not only good for Humans but can also be used on out equine partners. 

Dosage is dependant on specific uses.

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