Question: We have a 6 y/o Welsh Cob that has a low blood count and is showing its signs. He gets a good quality hat, nutrena ration balancer and a calming supplement.
Would Amino fac 41 be helpful, and would it be ok to combine with a lixotinic supplement?
Dr. Kellon: Low blood count - i.e. anemia - is uncommon in an animal this young and the first step should be to make sure it is real. Some horses have low counts when resting which come up to normal with a little exercise. You can lunge your pony for a few minutes and repeat the test, or even just the hematocrit portion, to see if it still stays abnormally low.
If it is real, the most common cause is a chronic disease condition. There are many possibilities, such as Lyme disease, an internal abscess, malignancy or parasitism.
As far as nutritional causes, iron deficiency is rarely, if ever, the cause so an iron based supplement won't help. In fact, high iron intake coupled with low copper is more likely to cause anemia in a horse. Many commercial supplements have too much iron and not enough copper to correct this problem.
B vitamins many be an issue if he has digestive tract problems. Insufficient vitamin E can also sometimes contribute to anemia.
Amino Fac 41 certainly won't hurt but may not correct the anemia either. Your best approach is to first retest him after a little exercise, then have him investigated for the underlying cause if the anemia is real. If nothing is found, consider using a no iron and high copper balancer like U-Balance Foundation.