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High iron - could it be contributory to slow healing?

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  • High iron - could it be contributory to slow healing?

    My 7 year old homebred mare has always been a little slow to heal from cuts on her legs, right now she is healing a rather deep (but superficial) cut on the inside of her right hind below the hock. It's been over two weeks, and she wound up having to go on antibiotics and Banamine because it was developing an infection: leg was slightly swollen, cut became warm and tender. She was never lame on it and had a normal temp, no cellulitis. I was doing cold hosing, did a poultice wrap, was cleaning it daily and putting antibiotic ointment on it, etc.

    This is a common theme with her; small cuts on her legs take a long time to heal despite prompt treatment.

    She is a healthy horse (I event), fit and in good shape if an easy keeper, she recovers beautifully from Horse Trials, good musculature and topline, has always been sound, etc. She has great feet, and they grow very fast. She has no health issues other than the healing thing. No skin issues.

    I had her blood tested 2-3 years ago because the iron in the water at my boarding facility is very high (not potable); she came back with normal levels for everything except iron; she had 2 1/2 times the normal level: 5.53, normal is .84-2.50

    I have had her on supplemental copper and zinc since she was 3, also natural Vitamin E and MSM. She is also on Quiessence, and gets an RB: McCauley's 30. There is iron listed on their ingredient list, but not the amount (and yes, supplemental iron is usually BAD, that much I have learned from the COTH wisdom!)

    The BM gets good quality hay from different sources: she feeds Orchard Grass and Timothy and a little bit of Alfalfa. Pasture is good and plentiful year round. I'm figuring that the iron is probably high in the forage as well.

    There would be no WAY she would be okay with me doing hay testing, so that's off the table...

    I've read about the effects of excessive iron in horse diets, but could the cut healing thing be related to this?

    TIA for any thoughts, and I'm hoping that JB might weigh in here
    Last edited by Dr. Doolittle; Aug. 20, 2019, 11:59 AM.
    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

  • #2
    A better picture of the iron issue is to to a ferritin test, and I think Kansas State is the only one who does that. That's a better picture of iron stores, not just what's circulating at the moment. For example, I've had both tests - blood was normal, ferritin quite low, and that's a bigger problem.

    I can't say I've seen a connection between high Fe and slow healing, but I can't say it's not possible. It may just be her. I have a horse (TB, mare, but not chestnut ) whose body responds much more dramatically to even smaller cuts, than any of the other 3, and they all get similarly balanced diets. Small cuts on legs make for lots of swelling, though thankfully never any associated lameness. But also, they don't tend to take longer than "normal", just a bigger reaction.

    But now I'm curious, so will do some digging and asking around when I get a chance.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by JB View Post
      A better picture of the iron issue is to to a ferritin test, and I think Kansas State is the only one who does that. That's a better picture of iron stores, not just what's circulating at the moment. For example, I've had both tests - blood was normal, ferritin quite low, and that's a bigger problem.

      I can't say I've seen a connection between high Fe and slow healing, but I can't say it's not possible. It may just be her. I have a horse (TB, mare, but not chestnut ) whose body responds much more dramatically to even smaller cuts, than any of the other 3, and they all get similarly balanced diets. Small cuts on legs make for lots of swelling, though thankfully never any associated lameness. But also, they don't tend to take longer than "normal", just a bigger reaction.

      But now I'm curious, so will do some digging and asking around when I get a chance.
      Thanks, JB - I can always count on you to come through - as well as teaching me new things!
      "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

      "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

      Comment


      • #4
        Sure, it doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility that excess iron has something to do with her healing issues. Check out this paper.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4091310/

        Start reading at "deleterious effects of local cutaneous iron deposition." It's toward the end.

        What options do you have? Can you move? Or filter your horses water?

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Simkie View Post
          Sure, it doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility that excess iron has something to do with her healing issues. Check out this paper.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4091310/

          Start reading at "deleterious effects of local cutaneous iron deposition." It's toward the end.

          What options do you have? Can you move? Or filter your horses water?
          How interesting, thanks Simkie!

          Yes, I could move her (have considered it many, many times for a variety of reasons - the barn being almost an hour from me being the main thing - though the options for anything CLOSER are getting more and more rare in my damn overpopulated area), but she has been there her whole life, is VERY happy there, the "management" is perfect for her, and her dam is retired there. Plus board is reasonable.

          No to the water filtering, unfortunately...
          "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

          "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

          Comment


          • #6
            It would be interesting to move and see if anything changes, but it'll take quite some time for her to use all her extra iron and level out.

            Bloodletting is still used for people with hemochromatosis. I guess you could try something like that....? Sounds crazy!

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Simkie View Post
              It would be interesting to move and see if anything changes, but it'll take quite some time for her to use all her extra iron and level out.

              Bloodletting is still used for people with hemochromatosis. I guess you could try something like that....? Sounds crazy!
              Yes, it would take awhile! Ha, yeah - I thought about that - but who on earth would be willing to do it??
              "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

              "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dr. Doolittle View Post

                Yes, it would take awhile! Ha, yeah - I thought about that - but who on earth would be willing to do it??
                It's a "real" medical procedure, so I'd think you could work with your vet to do it? Sounds freaky but it's really just like drawing for, say, a coggins...with more volume.

                People with hemochromatosis often donate blood, iirc, as their "blood letting."

                I dunno, it might be an interesting thing to try, at the end of your competing season?

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Simkie View Post

                  It's a "real" medical procedure, so I'd think you could work with your vet to do it? Sounds freaky but it's really just like drawing for, say, a coggins...with more volume.

                  People with hemochromatosis often donate blood, iirc, as their "blood letting."

                  I dunno, it might be an interesting thing to try, at the end of your competing season?
                  Hmmmm. 🤔
                  "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                  "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've read repeatedly that high iron is inflammatory. One of the sources was Dr. Eleanor Kellon. Would certainly seem inflammation would not help the immune system/healing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My little mare, if she got minor cuts/wounds would always get raised, keloid scars. I put her on MSM (source of sulfur) for other reasons, but it also seemed to make all future cuts and scrapes heal nicely with no lumps or bumps.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by DinkyDonk View Post
                        My little mare, if she got minor cuts/wounds would always get raised, keloid scars. I put her on MSM (source of sulfur) for other reasons, but it also seemed to make all future cuts and scrapes heal nicely with no lumps or bumps.
                        Yes, it has beneficial effects - which is why I’ve had her on it since she was two 😉

                        She was more prone to skin stuff before I started supplementing it...
                        "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                        "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Why would the BM object to you testing hay?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Dr. Doolittle this paper is interesting.

                            http://www.bloodjournal.org/content/116/3/317

                            Caveat: obviously you're looking at excess dietary iron versus a storage issue, and a horse versus a human. But the discussion around joint/arthritis issues is concerning, as is that link with diabetes.

                            There's also discussion there about volume, timing, and tracking for phlebotomy therapy.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I don’t poultice wounds, I normally clean and put something like furacin on it, gauze, cotton, then wrap. My little tub of poultice doesn’t seems to stay real clean.
                              "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Furacin is proven to significantly retard wound healing, and on lower leg wounds, promotes proud flesh

                                http://www.itarget.com.br/newclients...09_pal_ted.pdf
                                "Although some TA can retard wound healing (e.g. gentamicin cream, Furacin etc)," - TA = topical antibiotic

                                https://www.veterinarypracticenews.c...-horses-wound/
                                "Nitrofurazone ointment is readily available as an over-the-counter wound dressing, though research indicates that it retards healing. Dr. Hendrickson recommends against its use in open wounds."

                                https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4663678/
                                "Nitrofurazone has broad-spectrum activity and is hydrophilic in nature, drawing fluid from the wound and decreasing edema in highly exudative wounds. It is known to delay epithelialization, however, and is a known carcinogen. Further, it has reduced antibacterial activity in the presence of organic matter. "


                                ______________________________
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                                  Dr. Doolittle this paper is interesting.

                                  http://www.bloodjournal.org/content/116/3/317

                                  Caveat: obviously you're looking at excess dietary iron versus a storage issue, and a horse versus a human. But the discussion around joint/arthritis issues is concerning, as is that link with diabetes.

                                  There's also discussion there about volume, timing, and tracking for phlebotomy therapy.
                                  This is very interesting, and a bit alarming! 😕
                                  "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                                  "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    FTR I never use Furacin on wounds, having heard that it is contraindicated.

                                    Im amazed that many people still use it as a wound dressing!

                                    The reason I poulticed the leg was because it was swollen and I was trying to bring it down (fearing cellulitis), I used Animalintex.
                                    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                                    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      My mare was having inflammation issues and after running a blood panel and doing a hair mineral analysis my vet determined she has iron poisoning (our hay and water where we live is full of it so not really surprising). Trace Elements, the lab that did the hair mineral analysis also offers the minerals and calculations necessary to offset the imbalances so I just order the minerals from them and add them to her feed bucket. I had to start filtering her water too, but it's actually not as big a deal as you think. I bought a Camco camping filter for $15 on Amazon and attached it to her water spigot. Neither my feeder or my BM even noticed. When I ran out of her minerals this summer all the joint problems came back worse than before so I'm a huge believer in mineral balancing now. It certainly couldn't hurt to try.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Hair analysis for determination of nutritional status is useless.

                                        I'm curious what Trace Elements sold you, and for what $$. Copper and zinc are really cheap.
                                        ______________________________
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                        Comment

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