VITAMIN C for your OLDER HORSE (and maybe your dog/horse with bladder issues…)!

I will start by saying that I am not a vet… so what I’m writing here is my experience and I’m not suggesting you do anything before consulting your vet.


Scouty is our female mastiff.  Right now, she is 5 years old.  Approximately 2 years ago, she became lethargic – and was licking her private parts constantly.

I took her to the vet.  They said that she checked out fine.


Scouty continued to lick her girl parts, too often.

Well, I’m a girl who suffers from bladder issues.  Most of us know how awful a marginal bladder infection can be… not to mention one in full force… So, I got the hit that maybe Scouty had an undetectable bladder infection.

On a hunch, I crushed up a few large dose (1000 mg) chewable vitamin C pills and put them on her food, twice a day for 3 days and then I lessened the dose for the next several days.

Voila.  No more licking.  None.  And, she perked up!!

Since that day, I’ve been giving her a 500mg chewable Vitamin C pill every morning.  She has never licked herself  since.  And, she is a MUCH happier dog.

As an aside, I sometimes will use EmergenC as well.  I cut open a packet and put it on her food with water.

Scouty and her brother when they were puppies.

HOW ABOUT NORMA JEAN?… She has bladder issues, too.

So a while back, Norma Jean (my 25 year-old donkey) had remnants around her girl parts that had crusted.  I noted that I was washing off this ‘crust’ for a few days in a row.  Not good.  Also, she was tender on her kidneys.

The vet came out.  He said that she had a urinary tract issue and gave us antibiotics.


Well, when I saw the crusts again, I looked up ‘Vitamin C in older equines’.  The literature says that young horses manufacture Vitamin C from their food.  But older horses lose that ability.


And it said that Vitamin C is water soluble so excess is flushed out.

Hmmmmm again.

I decided to give Norma Jean some crushed up Vitamin C to see if it helped her.

After 2 days, the crust was gone.

So, now I give her crushed, large dose Vitamin C in her bucket.  (Dodger, too.  He is 36.)

Norma Jean.


Below, I have several articles written about Vitamin C in equines.

–The first states that horses make their own so you don’t have to supplement.

–The second speaks to equine bladders… and Vitamin C

–The third article speaks to the need for Vitamin C in older horses.


CLICK IMAGE to go to the original article

Information on Vitamin C

The main function of Vitamin C is as an anti-oxidant. This means that it works to prevent oxidation, or free-radicals destroying cells.

Research is lacking when it comes to determining how much C is found in common feedstuffs. In fact, C concentrations in typical horse feeds is unknown.

What is known is that the horse is able to synthesize C from glucose. Based on a number of studies, it is currently assumed that the horse meets his entire C need by manufacturing it in his own body, meaning he does not need an outside vitamin C source.

It also appears that C deficiency and toxicity are of very little concern in horses…which is good news for us owners!

Vitamin C Deficiency

Scurvy, which is characterized by tiredness, rash on the legs, and bleeding gums, is the classic sign of vitamin C deficiency. However, scurvy has never been reported in horses.

Even though scurvy has never been reported in horses, a few studies have linked low ascorbic acid blood levels with other diseases.

It is important to realize that these studies have simply linked the two…as of yet, there has been no determination as to whether or not it is a cause and effect relationship.

For example, it could be something completely different that is causing both the low ascorbic acid blood level AND the disease — in which case supplementing to increase the ascorbic acid blood level would not get rid of or prevent the disease.

These diseases include strangles, acute rhinopneumonia, increased wound infections after operations, and decreased performance levels.

Vitamin C Toxicity

Even more good news about C…vitamin C toxicity has never been reported in horses!

In fact, a toxic level hasn’t even been established in most domestic animals. Since C is one of the water-soluble vitamins, this is not really surprising, as excess is simply flushed out of the body.


Click image to go to the original article.

Balance is relevant to many aspects of horse care and management—for their feet, effective riding, nutrition and body condition, and of course for pH (a measure of acidity or alkalinity), electrolyte, and fluid levels. Of those, the pH or degree of acidity of specific environments and fluids within the body and electrolytes must be maintained within very narrow parameters to keep your horse healthy.  A pH measure of 7 indicates a neutral solution such as distilled water whereas values below 7 are considered acidic and those above 7 are referred to as basic or alkaline.

One place where pH is particularly important is the urinary tract. Because equine urine normally has a basic pH (more alkaline than acidic with pH greater than 7) and is high in minerals, some horses are at risk of developing stones in their bladders, called uroliths, especially if their diet is high in minerals.

One way to prevent uroliths is to acidify the urine (i.e., decrease urine pH). As easy as it sounds, it’s actually quite tricky. According to a group of German researchers*, hay and feeds containing hay (green fodder) are known to stabilize urine pH, making it difficult to acidify the urine when desired. What isn’t known, however, is what exactly makes hay such a poor urinary acidifier.

The researchers fed four ponies six different diets, either with or without additional urinary acidifiers to better establish how those diets impact urine pH. They found that a variety of diets were capable of acidifying the urine. The most impressive decrease in pH, from 7.8 to 5.2, occurred when the ponies were fed straw or extruded straw with a urinary acidifier (ammonium chloride, methionine, monocalcium phosphate). In contrast, any diet—even those containing urinary acidifiers—that included fresh or preserved green fodder could not be acidified. Urine pH remained above 7.

The take-home message of these findings is not to recommend a diet of straw and urinary acidifiers for horses at risk of uroliths, but simply to bring attention to the fact that adding a urinary acidifier to a horse’s normal diet might not produce the desired result. In addition, many common urinary acidifiers are unpalatable (such as ammonium chloride) or ineffective unless very large doses are administered. For example, 1-2 grams of vitamin C per kilogram of body weight is equivalent to 500-1000 grams of vitamin C daily–that’s a lot of 1-gram tablets! Vinegar is not widely deemed an effective urinary acidifier, either. More research in this area is needed to find effective and palatable solutions to this clinical issue.

*Foren, G., J. Fritz, N. Dillitzer, B. Hipp, and E. Kienzle. 2014. Fresh and preserved green fodder modify effects of urinary acidifiers on urine pH of horses. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 98:239-45.


CLICK IMAGE to go to the original article.

As if aging isn’t hard enough! Creaky joints, sagging backs, loose teeth, increased infections, poor digestion, and embarrassing gassiness — just a few of the problems associated with getting older (for your horse, not you!). But what was once a given in youth, now turns into a deficiency – vitamin C must now be added to the diet. You see, young horses are able to produce all the vitamin C they need for every-day health. This is why you typically do not see it added to commercially fortified horse feeds. But as horses get up in years, they are less able to manufacture vitamin C. Decreased liver function is the main reason, but it can also be due to a decline in hindgut microflora and an increased propensity for pituitary dysfunction.

Why is vitamin C so important?

 It prevents oxidative damage to your horse’s tissues and organs. In other words, it is an antioxidant. Antioxidants donate electrons to highly volatile, damaging molecules known as free radicals. Free radical production is accelerated during any type of physical or mental stress, muscle and joint inflammation, allergies, illness/injury, or exposure to toxins and pollutants. But once free radicals receive their missing electron from vitamin C, they are neutralized – calmed down – and are no longer harmful.

Vitamin C has two other major roles

 While its antioxidant capability is paramount to your horse’s overall health, vitamin C protects your horse in two other significant ways:

  • Collagen synthesis. Collagen is a protein that creates a matrix within bones and joints to which minerals and other substances can attach. It is also part of connective tissue and maintains blood vessel integrity. Therefore enough vitamin C is important for keeping bones and joints healthy, reducing tooth loss, as well as preventing ruptured capillaries than can lead to abscesses.
  • Natural antihistamine. Horses that suffer from respiratory or skin allergies will benefit from additional vitamin C. As an antihistamine, it reduces the histamine response, making your horse more tolerant to allergens and hence, more comfortable.

Finding the right supplement

 Vitamin C is known as ascorbic acid. It can be derived from food or flowers (e.g., rose hips) or can be made in a laboratory. Regardless of the source, they are chemically identical, so there is no need to spend more on natural vitamin C. Ascorbic acid comes in several different forms, all similar in absorption and efficacy:

  • Buffered mineral acorbates. These are less acidic. Horse preparations typically mix vitamin C with calcium or magnesium to ease digestive upset. These forms may be beneficial for horses with digestive ulcerations or chronic diarrhea.
  • Ester-C. Ascorbic acid is chemically esterified (attached) to calcium. It also contains vitamin C metabolites that may be better absorbed, and easier on the digestive tract lining. There is little scientific basis for this but in cases where a horse is suffering from gastric ulcers, it may be helpful.
  • Ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids (such as quercetin, ruin, and hesperidins). This complex may allow for better vitamin C absorption. Bioflavonoids are also beneficial for respiratory allergies.
  • Ethyl cellulose coated ascorbic acid. This coating helps improve shelf life, especially when mixed with minerals that can promote oxidation.


Since vitamin C is water soluble, excess amounts are easily excreted in urine. Therefore, it is best to divide dosages between meals to avoid urinary losses. It also tends to be bitter-tasting, so less at one time will be better received.

I routinely recommend vitamin C supplementation for all horses in their late teens (unless they are grazing on healthy pasture for at least 8 hours each day). Start by adding 3 to 5 mg per pound of body weight per day. Once your horse is over 20, give him 10 mg for every pound of body weight. For more intense needs, the National Research Council (NRC) suggests an upper safe limit of 44 mg of vitamin C per kg of body weight. For an 1100 lb (500 kg) horse, this can be as high as 22,000 mg per day.

Protect your supplement

 If you have a container of vitamin C sitting in your hot barn, protect it from a cruel fate — keep it in a cool, dry place where the container is sealed shut. Refrigeration is fine. Purchase small sizes unless you are feeding it to several horses. Your supply should be finished within six months.

Remember, your older horse needs vitamin C to replace what he no longer produces on his own. Therefore, he should be supplemented indefinitely, for the remainder of his life.

Helpful supplements

If your horse needs vitamin C, consider the following:

  • Pure C (Vita-Flex) is pure ascorbic acid.
  • C-442 (Horsetech) is buffer, coated vitamin C for longer shelf life.
  • Ester-C (Med-Vet Pharmaceuticals) offer esterified vitamin C to help horses with ulcers.



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A BEAUTIFUL STORY… A HAPPY ENDING. GOLIATH – the 25 year old (gorgeous)wild mustang!

Some of you may have already been watching this story… Goliath is a 25 year-old wild mustang – who was recently caught by the BLM (rounded up aggressively), gelded and put up for adoption.

Now, you might ask… why round up a 25 year old, perfectly healthy wild horse and try to adopt him out?   I agree. There was no good reason for this.  And, as most of you know, gelding an older stallion is a dangerous proposition.

Luckily, Goliath survived.

I have no idea where Goliath’s herdmates landed…

…but I can tell you that the loving humans who had kept tabs on Goliath and his herds for the last 15 years (while he was wild), were up in arms that this happened.  Social Media blew up and many good people appeared to do anything they could to help this regal horse.

There was a long back and forth with the BLM, and after days of heartfelt please, the BLM would not agree to release Goliath to Skydog Sanctuary.

So, he went through the BLM auction today.

Below are a few segments from the SKYDOG SANCTUARY FB site.  These missives document some of the efforts from this last week.  Amazing story.

If you don’t have time to read this gut wrenching story with a happy ending… just know that we found out today that Skydog did win Goliath’s auction!  So he will live out his life in freedom!  AND, one of his band mares has been located and donated to Skydog so that he can have one of his mares with him!  She is pregnant, with probably his last foal – so incredible!!

A wonderful, brilliant ending.


Good Morning to you all. Well it was a long day and night. I spent most of it trying to see if Goliath could be pulled from the internet adoption and directly sent to us so that we didn’t have to get into a bidding war with others for this iconic horse who deserves to just live out his life in a sanctuary but sadly so far we have had no’s to that request. It is not too late for a miracle and I am still trying but we have been told we have to bid like everybody else so we shall.

Many of you have offered to help bring him here so I am posting a fundraiser on this page that I set up and also you can go directly to our website at which would be great for us as we will be able to use those funds immediately instead of waiting for them to be processed.

Goliath is a special horse and the outpouring of love and support we have felt from all of you reflects this. We will need enough money to bid on him and we have no idea how much that might go up to. We will also need a good amount for a haul from Utah to Oregon which will be a couple of thousand dollars at least. I will keep you updated and when we start bidding next week we will know better although it may come down to the final day on February 22nd as often people wait until the end day to really start bidding.

Sadly right now none of his mares remain in holding. Two were adopted out which is wonderful and we are trying to find out if there were any others who might be available. None are on this internet adoption. When he comes to us of course he will not be on his own and we shall choose 2 or 3 mares to keep him company and he will be king of the hill once more.

If you would like to donate for us to get him safe this is the official fundraiser for Goliath to come to Skydog Sanctuary. I know a couple of people have put up fundraisers already with our blessing and those funds will come to help him also and many thanks to those wonderful people. If you would like to donate please go to or see the fundraiser above…..

Most importantly we are going to keep him safe and give him peace for life so if anyone is also interested in donating to sponsor him on a monthly basis that would be incredible also. Go to our website and hit sponsor and say Goliath when asked who you would like to sponsor.

I hope we can unite for Goliath and pull this off and if we don’t raise enough funds we will of course refund anyone who would like their donation returned. I am hoping that the amount of love and concern this one beautiful old man is inspiring will also promote the other horses that stand alongside him on the internet adoption and it is our hope that they all find good homes. The reason we are rooting for Goliath is due to his age we feel as though he would be less of a candidate for domestic life and captivity than some of the others.

So here is Goliath in all his glory when he was still wild last year…..Goliath stand tall, we are coming to get you xxx


Sometimes in life something happens that is magical. The adopting of Goliath and offering him sanctuary truly has been a magical event where so many people from so many different arenas of horse rescue, transport, sanctuary, advocacy have all come together for one end. To give Goliath the best final years of his life that he could possibly ask for now his freedom has gone.

We have been so overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and emotion and kindness for this horse. He is a healer and a conduit for good it seems. Photographers from all across the states have sent photographs and memories of him from over the years. Portrait painters have asked to paint him. Individuals have started fundraisers of their own. People have shared stories about him and his children and mares that have come and gone. So much has been documented about this horse there should be a book. And we want it to be a story with the happiest of endings and now feel as though we have the funds to make that happen.

We want to let you know we reached our goal, exceeded our goal, and that if we find that we don’t have to bid as much as we feared that we are happy to return funds to those who need them for other rescues. We are not here to profit from this beautiful creature in any way shape or form. He just deserves to live out his life on space with horses he knows and loves. That is what we want to give him.

More than anything I hope that the awareness raised for Goliath will spread to the other horses who need adopting as well and a safe landing and a good life. That is our hope and prayer. Hopefully any private buyers who were interested in him will adopt one of the other many incredible and worthy horses needing homes or sanctuary.

Come Tuesday we shall start the bidding process and hope that we can get him and bring him to Skydog. We shall keep you posted every step of the way. In the meantime THANK YOU. To every single person who stepped up and donated and cared and loved him enough to support us in this.

I also want to say that all we did is say yes we would take him and you all did the rest. I want to give a special and huge personal thank you to George Brauneis, Maureen Daane, Pat Doak for these incredible photographs of Goliath in the wild that she gave permission to us to use, to Raven Leighton and her tenacity and love for this horse which drove her to never stop fighting for him to come here, to Ottilia H. Markusz-Job for her photographs and her love of Goliath, to Elaine Nash of Fleet of Angels and Barbara Rasmussen – the list goes on and on and we will never forget that you stepped up to help him. God Bless you x

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Good Morning, We are so excited to have the loveliest news for you that we have been unable to share until now. Our whole mission to give Goliath Sanctuary here at Skydog seems to have been heaven sent and blessed by angels so far. We still have a ways to go as the bidding doesn’t end until tomorrow morning but we are hoping and praying that we will be able to win the bid and bring him home to Skydog.

BECAUSE right now at Skydog Oregon, eating her breakfast blissfully unaware, is a beautiful red curly mare. She is Goliath’s lead mare in the wild, the mare he fought to keep, the mare he fought helicopters not to take and she may well be pregnant with his last foal.

Goliath had a few mares in his band but he would let them wander to other stallions sometimes and they had an interesting dynamic in the wild of occasionally sharing mares. But Red Lady is the one mare that he kept by his side and as you can see by the photographs also had some amazing babies with already.

All we have done for days is ignore the noise and stay focused on the goal which is to see Goliath back on the land and wide open spaces with his beautiful lady by his side and hopefully foal to come. It is what we have worked so hard to give them. I cannot tell you how much work has gone into this from so many incredible people. People who truly care about these horses and their welfare, happiness and future. Those are the people I focus on and work with. We are sincerely grateful to Elaine Nash at Fleet of Angels who has been instrumental in helping us, and for finding us the most amazing hauler Carla for his mare in the best trailer, and she is all ready to go pick up Goliath too.

Goliath and his mare were rounded up together but have been separated ever since and his mare was adopted out a couple of months ago to a wonderful lady who has been taking incredibly good care of her. She has been a little wild as you can imagine, an older mare – a lead mare – recently gathered and pregnant is not for the faint of heart. But she has loved her, and loved her so much, that she wanted her to be back with Goliath and to see them reunited as much as we want that. Selflessly she put the horses first and reassigned his mare to Skydog and we thank the BLM for also helping to make that a reality and for doing the paperwork so speedily.

Since starting Skydog Sanctuary it has been the biggest dream of ours to do more work reuniting bands, herds and friends but especially a family. And for some reason just when we decided and voted to go more in that direction along came Goliath to help us make it become a reality. His story is important and we are filming a lot of it so that we can tell that story and continue to raise awareness and advocate for change.

But all that aside we hope and pray that tomorrow we will be able to win the bid on Goliath and then reunite our Romeo and Juliet of the wild horse world so that they truly can live happily every after together as a family. We are so grateful for everyone who has donated and so many of your messages are asking us to reunite him with his family so we have done what we can to make that happen and are so proud, happy and thrilled to be able to share the news with our Skydog herd who have truly been the ones who have allowed us to make this dream a reality. We still cannot give you all the ultimate ending yet but as of right now Bidding will end in 0 days, 22 hours, 31 minutes and 31 seconds and we are counting every one of them for Goliath.

Hang in there boy Skydog is coming for you xxx

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Since the day we started saving and rescuing mustangs I have had a dream. To one day be able to reunite a family of wild horses who were torn apart in a roundup and separated. To live that moment where we give them the gift of a reunion and a happy ever after. To see them back together peaceful and happy as they should have remained. That has been my dream.

I think advocates, mustang lovers and horse people in general get so much bad news. Another roundup, more threats from Congress, cases of abuse and neglect, horses being euthanized, and a never ending dumping of mustangs in auctions and kill pens across America. More than anything I wanted to give people a happy ending. A happy ever after. A love story like no other. To think that we can bring him back to Skydog and watch him see her again, something he maybe thought would never happen is everything. It is worth having gone through all this work, stress and near nervous breakdowns – for today’s result.

We didn’t want to have to bid. We tried asking him to have him re-released when he was rounded up. We tried to pull him from the adoption before it began. We tried to get the word out that he had an offer of sanctuary and a safe place to live out his life so nobody else would bid. But when it came down to it we had to fight for him because that was what was right for him and his family.

To all the people who donated and made this happen.

Thank you.

We always knew it would go high. We are relieved and happy it didn’t go higher to tell you the truth. To see donations come in – some were for one dollar, three dollars, even one for a few thousand dollars. Every one of them counted. Because for the people who sit at their computers and see bad news, who want to help, who want to DO SOMETHING but just don’t know what. This one horse gave everyone a chance to be a part of this. Every one of you can say “I helped get him there and back with his mare.” And that is the best part about all this.

I am glad so many people were involved. This isn’t a victory for one sanctuary or for me. This is a wonderful result for all people who care about these horses and love them as much as we do. And for our mission statement which is all about raising awareness for mustangs this one horse has managed to do so much in that regard and touch so many many hearts.

Before the auction started we were in touch with an organization on the East Coast who wrote to us and asked that we not bid on Maestro and the older palomino as they wanted to take them and keep them together. They had been following them as long as we had been following our boy. And they promised not to bid on Goliath. Although Maestro and Goliath buddied up in the pens it might not be the story if put a pregnant mare and two recently gelded stallions out together.

Every step of the way we made the decision that was best for Goliath, with the best scenario and outcome for him. That is why we have a board of directors and very knowledgeable people around us who help us make those choices based on first hand knowledge and experience. To Raven N Leighton who has saved so many mustangs from slaughter and fell in love with Goliath aged 15 and fought for him to come here, Elaine Nash from Fleet Of Angels who helped beyond words, to Maureen Daane and @the.adventures.of.pistol who fundraised for him, to Pat Doak who took the greatest photos of him through his life, To Carla who transported Red Lady and will go get Goliath, to Iran – a beautiful soul who helped us behind the scenes, to George Brauneis who lent me some of his light, all the angels I have around me who were on the phone and messaging and offering prayers and support, Kim our volunteer who sat here all morning and refreshed our feed, to our team here at Skydog who take care of every horse here come rain or shine, snow or heat. We are so lucky. So blessed to have you rooting for him and all your thoughts prayers and love was felt every step of the way.

God bless you

We shall pick up Goliath as soon as we are allowed which is March 2nd on the adoption details. We will film every step of the way and be making a beautiful short documentary about this process and Goliath and his reunion with his mare. We will share ever bit of this with you because you are the true heroes. You guys are incredible and beautiful and I am so proud to call you all friends.

Goliath is coming home…….


Skydog would love sponsors for these horses… if you would like to sponsor them or make a donation, please go to their website.

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