Grass Sickness is a devastating disease of horses, ponies and donkeys and unfortunately remains invariably fatal. Parts of the nervous system which control the involuntary functions become damaged leading to the most classic symptoms (in acute cases) of gut paralysis, salivation, gastric reflux and dysphagia (the inability to swallow). It is not a contagious disease which has led to research focusing on the soil borne Clostridium botulinum type C as being the possible cause.
Sadly acute and sub-acute cases will die so it is kindest to euthanase to prevent unnecessary suffering. Although there are absolutely no guarantees, some chronic cases are recovering and actually eventually return to being ridden. However, recovery is a very long, slow process requiring dedicated nursing; it is a huge commitment which takes over your life and is emotionally very taxing and distressing.
The use of Equissage can help assist in the recovery process of those horses able to ingest a little food. The gentle massaging helps to stimulate the gut as well as promoting the elimination of harmful toxins and boosting the circulation both of which are seriously compromised. Such treatment helps prevent the onset of other secondary issues which all serve to make nursing even harder such as foot problems (due to lack of movement), pain the back (due to the preferred adopted stance) and blocked airways (due to dried and inflamed nasal passages). Massage in itself promotes the feel-good factor and combating depression is one of the secrets of managing grass-sickness cases otherwise, as with people, horses can and do give up. Using Equissage sadly does not guarantee a successful recovery but it is invaluable in aiding the recovery. We are receiving more and more positive reports of horses recovering that have Equissage therapy as part of their daily management; so owners have nothing to lose and everything to gain by making Equissage part of their management regime.
Fred & Rowena Cook, Equissage Advisors