Thursday, December 3, 2015

Can Horses get Sensitized to oils too?

         Essential oils are wonderful for people and horses. But, I am passionate when it comes to safety issues. When using oils on horses, please ask yourself …What is the Purpose?  Why am I putting it on the skin?  If you are hoping to get it into the bloodstream fast, think again.  Inhalation (even with horses) has been proven to get into the blood stream fastest with little chance of sensitization. And remember horses have VERY acute senses of smell and just a little bit goes a long ways.  Oils are VERY powerful and should be diluted into a carrier before using 98% of the time.
          I have a daughter who is now sensitized to oils on her skin from years of undiluted oil use.  I feel bad that I didn’t know better 20 years ago.  So, now I feel it my duty to warn others.  I also have a horse who is sensitized to Citronella (and possibly other oils) from just using it in a fly spray.   So, PLEASE, PLEASE educate yourself and DO NOT apply oils without dilution to at least 10% or under for massage. Blends for emotional work can easily be diluted down to 5-15% and still be amazingly potent.
          You may think that horses skin is not as sensitive as a human's.  If that's truly the case, then WHY are you putting oils directly on the skin?  Why not take precautions and use less oil?
          The only times I use undiluted oils on a horse are for extreme first aid and/or serious bacterial or fungal infections in the hoof (such as thrush).  Helichrysm for bruises and Oregano, Thyme, Tea Tree and Rosewood for thrush.       Most recently I have used Peppermint for the swelling of laminitis in an "emergency" but it seemed to cause redness on the sensitive light skin of my white legged horse. I repented and applied coconut oil first subsequently. I also have applied oils to abscesses in the same manner.  I found that the oils of German Chamomile, Hyssop and Copaiba were effective for this.  I added oils to a base of Grandma Tuckfield's salve and painted it on the hoof with good results.
          There are no sure fire ways to ensure we do not become sensitized  but we can reduce the odds by proper dilution, reducing the frequency of use, reducing the area of application, and avoiding dermal application of those oils that are known sensitizers.

       If you want to do Raindrop (dripping oils on the spine) on your horse for whatever reason, PLEASE dilute down to 2% to 10% with coconut or other carrier oil.  The oils are powerful and will do their job.  AND you will save yourself some money by not using so much.

For some photos of what can happen to horses after "raindrop" therapy, take a look at this blog:

For more information see the page on "Sensitization".