GARLIC- THE POISON IS IN THE DOSE February 01, 2015 16:10
Garlic is renowned as a natural feed supplement for horses, it has been added to horse diets for years. Garlic is said to have a veritable array of medicinal properties. It is said to contain substances that relieve pain and also anti-inflammatory properties. It is rich in Selenium and sulfur, and it is also used as an anti-microbial, fly repellent and a natural de-wormer. However there has been evidence that fed in excessive amounts it can have dire consequences for your horse. In a study conducted in 1972 by:
Pierce, K.R., et al., Acute hemolytic anemia caused by wild onion poisoning in horses, "Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association,"
It was found that the active compound found in the Onion family Allicin, which contains the chemical compound N-propyl disulfide, which through a biochemical process decreases the amount of red blood cells in the horses blood stream, causing severe Anemia.Now red blood cells are responsible for ferrying oxygen around the body and if there is a decreased amount of red blood cells this will definitely adversely affect your horses performance. Anemia will make your horse lethargic and weak, its recovery ability will also be negatively affected.
This study did not feed dried powdered garlic to horses, it fed onion tops, which contain more Allicin than dried garlic. The researchers fed 454 grams (approximately) of onion tops for three days to a horse, then form the fourth day to the eighth day they increased this amount to a whopping 1,812 grams per day.In this period the total reduction in the red blood count was 23%. They continued to feed this amount of onion tops to the horse until day eleven. When the red blood cell count was tested again the count was down a total of 60%.
Another study done in 2005 published in the American Journal of Veterinarian Research, by: Wendy Pearson,, et al, further supported the above adverse consequences from feeding garlic, after a trial spanning 71 days and feeding amounts greater than 200 grams a day, it was found that: "Horses will voluntarily consume sufficient quantities of garlic to cause Heinz body anemia. The potential for garlic toxicosis exists when horses are chronically fed garlic. Further study is required to determine the safe dietary dose of garlic in horses." (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:457–465)
Now with feeding "Garlic, the poison is in the dose".
The active constituent in Garlic is Allicin which when crushed converts to Alliin; which in fresh Garlic is approximately 0.5%, where as in Dry Powdered Garlic it is approximately 0.3%, just over half.
Also we only recommend feeding approximately one to two tablespoons of Dried Garlic Powder a day, which is only 14 to 28 grams a day. A far cry from the 200 plus grams fed in the study mentioned above.We are also of the mind of only feeding natural herbs in cycles, for instance: one week on, one week off.
Garlic has been used for hundreds of years and I believe it will continue to be used for hundreds more to come. Now feeding Garlic is a personal preference, it is your horse and your choice. We do not have a Bachelor of Veterinarian Science behind us, yet we are horse owners, breeders and campaigners and we continue to use Dry Garlic Powder as a feed additive, to no noticeable negative effects and we will continue to use it.
(1) Pierce K. R, et al, is used to denote the principal author of the published article, the "et al" is latin for "and others" and is an abbreviation that is used to represent the others which contributed to the published article.
(2) Onions & Garlic are in the Allium family, Amaryllidaceae family and share the common active chemical constituent Allicin.