Thursday, June 28, 2012

Plea for Opinions - Equiwinner Electrolyte Patch

If anyone out there has heard of these patches and has some experience - whether it's first or second-hand, positive or negative - I'd like to hear about it! Please!!

A couple weeks ago, Willy took a huge leap backwards in terms of his headshaking after 4 good weeks. It was sudden - one day he was awesome, one day off, next day shaking as bad or worse than ever. I had the chiropractor back out and she didn't find anything to explain the sudden regression but we had some ideas like backing off the soft tissue work I was doing just a bit, in case he is ultra sensitive and she also showed me another TMJ adjustment technique. It hasn't helped, though he definitely gets something out of it.

That lead me to start going through the bookmarks I've accumulated on headshaking, just deperately looking for, well, anything really. That's when I re-discovered a link ( to this Equiwinner product that claims to help with headshaking, anhydrosis, EIPH bleeding, tying up and a few other things. There is some science there but it's hard to assess the logic as I'm not a biologist. Further, even if the science is sound, I don't know if this patch actually is effective at producing the effect they describe. Yes, I would probably be better spending my time searching journal articles rather than posting but let's call this the public opinion phase of my research!

To give a brief summary, the idea with respect to headshaking is that electrolytes don't always function as they should in the body, regardless of overall levels. The cells don't uptake the ions properly or in the correct proportions. We know many ions are vital for the proper functioning and repair of soft tissue. The claim is that this leads to an increase in blood pressure at rest (apparently high blood pressure in resting horses is rare) and therefore blood pressure increases well beyond normal levels with exercise. This increase in blood pressure can lead to cellular damage.

Now we need to consider the fly response in horses (bare with me!). Over the horse's body, they have panniculus muscles which are the ones responsible for that fast twitch reaction to rid flies off the body. The head and neck of the horse do not have these muscles and, as we've all witnessed, the horse shakes it's head to rid flies in that area. 

Back to the cell damage.  When the damage occurs around the hair bulbs, the sensation to the horse is like that of flies irritating them, eliciting the headshaking response. As stress (exercise, and hence blood pressure) increases, the sensations likewise increase, eliciting more headshaking. 

Still with me? So this patch apparently is designed so the body recognizes the ions more effectively (some dude won a nobel prize for the discovery that the cells recognize the molecules around the ion, not the ion itself, therefore mode of delivery can effect whether or not the cell allows the ions to pass through. 

I know enough biology, especially cell biology, to know that it sounds reasonable. I'd prefer to see come clinical trials assessing effectiveness of this particular product. They might be out there, that's my next step. 

In the meantime...anyone?? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


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