Lola – a horse case study

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Case Study – Lola

I began my journey into animal aromatherapy because the one question that I was always asked during workshops was; can I use essential oils with my pet?

Through the journey of achieving my certification as an animal aromatherapist I was required to complete several case studies. I was already volunteering at Celestial Farms, so I asked the owner if I could work with the animals to complete my case studies. She was thrilled and so my work began. I didn’t expect to fall so in love with the wide variety of farm animals, but am so grateful that I have a wider understanding of all animals.

The first animal to present with a problem I could work with was Lola a female quarter horse. Now, I will admit that I have been horseback riding and have always had a love of horses, but from a distance. It was a blessing that the barn manager was supportive of my desire to help the animals. We were able to teach and learn a lot from each other. During our first few sessions, I learned the detailed structure of the hoof and all the things that can go wrong.  Lola was suffering with recurring infection of thrush. As perfectly defined by* it is: “A noxious rotting odor emanating from the underside of a hoof…”. For any animals that live in a moist climate this is common struggle.

The barn manager had been using Kopertox ( which is commonly used to treat thrush in horses. Unfortunately, the use of Kopertox created a whole new issue within Lola’s hoof as you can see in the picture, she developed a nasty sore. One of the ingredients in Kopertox is copper naphthenate, which is supposed to provide resistance to water, unfortunately it also burns skin.

horse hoof sore
Horse hoof sore

We immediately discontinued use of the Kopertox and cleaned out her hooves well. My instructor graciously shares a blend for a healing skin mist spray in her Facebook group Animal Aromatherapy (Safe Use) This spray includes colloidal silver, witch hazel, and herbal tinctures of calendula (Calendula officinalis, and yarrow (Achillea millefolium). We began using this blend on Lola’s sore and within a few short days saw extreme improvement.

After about a month Lola developed thrush again. Since she was not experiencing the sores that we had seen previously I created a blend utilizing aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) and lemongrass essential oil (Cymbopogon citratus) at a .5% dilution. Lemongrass has been shown to be a skin sensitizer (article on Lemongrass). After just 3 days of use her hooves were clear. We continued use for 5 days total to ensure the infection was clear.

To learn more about animal aromatherapy book a workshop or consultation.

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