Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Equiwinner Performance patches and more 3rd world medicine

I received a good response and question from a reader and it touches on one of my favorite topics......medical scams, holistic treatments and other 3rd world treatments. This person researched the problem and applied some scientific rigor and has a highly likely diagnosis of Photic Head shaking. Here's the email.. "Hi I have a 17hh warmblood who was treated with steriods last yr and we changed all bedding soaked hay fly masks etc etc and it alll stopped so we put it down to allergy! Well he is off work now and the sun came out this w/e and I found him violently head shaking in the field and in the stable he goes to the back, after alot of research he is looking like a photic cause. I have come accross a product and was wandering if anyone has tried it or heard any feedback? Equiwinner performance patches they are formulated for a variety of things but seem to cure headshaking or so they say? " .....and even better, this scientist questions the claims of a product. Hallelujah.....another convert to the Church of the Painful Truth.
So what is "Equiwinner performance patches" ...hmmmmm....it's EQUI, so it's for horses...it's WINNER, so it must make them do something better....it's PERFORMANCE, so it makes them do it faster....and it's a PATCH, well...thats just cool. Heres what the company sez....
" The patches work by signalling to the skin that it needs to release any stored sodium. Stored sodium (salt) in the skin causes inconsistent sweating which in turn causes a number of poor performance related issues such as lack of stamina, poor response when asked for sustained effort and poor recovery after extreme exercise and competing. "

dammit man, why didn't I think of just signaling the skin....it's so simple a caveman could do it....or an advertising executive( maybe one that could spell signaling correctly) and wait ..theres more
"No banned substances are used in the Equiwinner Patch. Unlike human medical patches, there is no chemical action within or on the body of the horse. No substance enters or is metabolized within the body of the horse. The Equiwinner Patch works by influencing cell signaling only. Once the condition is corrected the body ignores the signal. There are no side effects. Please read the product instructions, to see how easy it is to use this new technology.
I know whenever I write about voodoo I really piss people off but I can't help it.It also generates a great deal of blog traffic which is always good. It really is a pet peeve of mine....please just use the scientific method, it's been around for a long time.
question-hypothesis-experimentation-analyze data-conclusion
If the data is reproducible....then it's good science.
Oh, and by the way the best treatment for photic head shaking is cyproheptidine and the use of polarized goggles or window tinted plastic on a fly mask. click here


Warren Ward said...

As the inventor of the Equiwinner patch for horses I am very glad to have the opportunity to reply to Dr. Weldon's comments about the website of the UK Equiwinner distributor. The detailed etiology of headshaking is given on the main Equiwinner website www.equiwinner.com/headshaking.htm Many owners of headshaking horses say "this explanation makes a lot of sense". Equiwinner does use exogenous cell signaling (spelt signalling in the UK) and those interested in this new technology could perhaps start with the work of MacKinnon on cell ion channels, for which he won a Nobel prize in 2003. Equiwinner is very successful in completely clearing headshaking, and we give a full money back guarantee that the product will do this. I wonder if there is a guarantee on the mask and drug method recommended by the above blog? Surely it is better to clear the condition, rather than prolong the use of masks and expensive drugs. One of the best recent sources of information on headshaking is the Australian magazine Hoofbeats at www.hoofbeats.com.au/issues/on.html where Equiwinner has a favorable mention. Warren Ward

Dr. Alan Weldon said...

It is good to hear from the inventor of the product, however...I still don't buy it. There is no "there" there, no science and no scientific data. The pleural of testimonial is not data. You reference "www.hoofbeats.com" this is not a scientific journal...IT'S A MAGAZINE FOR GODS SAKE" . Dr MacKinnon's work on ion channels is well known ( it was done in association with Cornell University where I did my Residency training by the way) but it in no way correlates with Headshaking syndrome, much less EIPH. Horses don't sneeze/snort/rub their noses off or have serous nasal discharge because of flies as was stated to be the primary cause of head shaking in horses on your web site.
The best thing said in your email is that you offer a money back guarantee...thats a good start. Sorry about the "signalling"...as Churchill said " we are two people separated by a common language"... and my abrupt nature....Science is like people Missouri...the show me state.

montepoeta said...

There is nothing more closed than the mind of the man who already thinks he knows everything.
I know that Equiwinner works because I have seen it myself (like a Missourian!).
Putting that poor horse in mask and goggles seems to me to be the height of cruelty. Particularly when there is an alternative. If you were a true scientist rather than an empty vessel you would try it yourself - seeing is believing - in the full knowledge that you will get your money back if it didn't work. Although there are many scams out there and they need stopping but people like you make sure that the worthwhile is also stopped! Open your mind and get a happy horse.

Dr. Alan Weldon said...

Thanks for the comment, however,
if you are from Missouri then "show me" the science. There simply is none and that's my problem with these claims. One of the problems with everyone having an "open mind" is that apparently all reason falls out. "seeing is believing" just doesn't get it for me...David Copperfield makes a living doing the same thing as do many of these charlatans hawking these products. I have over the years used the "response to treatment" as a way of backing into a diagnosis, but I have to realize that without scientific proof ....I was only guessing. I'm glad your horse is better, head shaking is a miserable condition to deal with, however, Scientifically it is only a symptom or sign not a disease in and of itself. Many causes present with that sign and as such no one specific cure exists. One such documented,reproducible,scientific example is aberrations in brain chemistry ie. low serotonin levels causing photic sensitization. As to your comment on "goggles"...here in Florida, if you are a photic-sneezer/sun-sneezer then you wear sunglasses.
As they said in the x-files....question everything.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Weldon - - glad to have come across your blog as I am 1) a HUGE Florida Gator Fan (my hubby was raised near Gainesville) and 2)a horse owner who's beloved suffers from the dreaded ANHIDROSIS every summer here in coastal South Carolina.

I see that you are a fan of "show me the science". Well - - I want you to show me some science about anhidrosis and how to help "fix" it!

I have tried ONE AC (which was developed in conjunction with the University of Florida and their researchers) and have yet to see it have ANY effect on my severely anhidrotic 13 you OTTB gelding.

I have even EMAILED the UF Vet School desperately seeking some advice on how best to treat my gelding and only got one very short reply from the vet there that does studies with acupuncture. So - - I recently had a friend send me a link for the EQUIWINNER patches.

I am "researching" on my own - and am having my local vet look into it also.

At this point and time, I am pretty much desperate to try anything as long as it will do no harm.

What else might you suggest we try??

I am a nurse, have done clinical trials for 10 + years and so - yes - I do agree with seeing the science. I am sure that being in Jax (my MIL lives at Vilano Beach), you must have MANY clients who's animals suffer from anhidrotic-related symptoms each summer. What do you advise them to do??

We have done it all - - One AC, beer, ACTH injections, stalling, misting, spraying etc etc etc. I have been treating him with iodine for almost a year now hoping to help correct some of his thyroid function as I have my own "beliefs" in the whole picture of things. But - please - don't be so arrogant as to "poo-poo" something that MIGHT actually work to help horses just because it's not supported by the necessary data you like to see.

Again - - I have tried ONE AC on more than one occassion - - have read numerous posts on different forums as to it's efficacy (positive and negative) - - so there's not always one definitive "fix-it" for every animal.

Thanks for your time. I look forward to what you have to offer.


Dr. Alan Weldon said...

Sorry to hear about your struggle with anhidrosis. The BIG problem with this condition is that the exact cause is as of yet unknown. What is known so far is that affected horses have an increased circulating catecholamine level. These hormones influence sweat glands so it is hypothesized by some that an over stimulation causes a burnout of these glands. In the early stages the use of clenbuterol ( a catecholamine) can cause the horse to sweat by providing even more stimulus to the already damaged gland forcing out a bit more function. The use of One AC has been shown to be helpful It contains Vitamin C , Niacin, L-
Tyrosine and Cobalt propionate. To date the only successful treatment is really just management. Turn out during the cool part of the day, cool-zone type fans, electrolyte supplements and the elimination of grain from the diet. All of these elements are designed to reduce environmental stress and the associated increase in circulating catecholemines. Some clients have benefited from using a window unit air conditioner in a semi enclosed stall during the day and providing night time turnout. Also it would be advisable to rule out any concurrent underlying medical conditions such as PPID ( equine cushings) and decrease your exercise program.While I understand the desire to find a cure I would have to advised you to proceed with caution. There are many out they that prey on those with problems and are more than happy to separate you from your money. Unfortunately these people get there information published on many equine websites and it is perceived as fact. Good luck and watch your horse closely
As serious health problems can occur.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply Dr. Weldon! At this time we are still considering our options. I just don't know what to do!

Anyway - so glad you took the time to reply though! Thanks again and will keep you posted as to how our summer goes!


Graeme said...

For those still interested, a descritpion of the science behind Smart Cell Signal technology can be found at www.ionextra.com/the-biology-of-smart-cell-signals.php.

charlie said...

We have just bought a beautiful pony who is perfect in everyday except for his head flick. He has no vices, and gets relief from a nose net on most days. I am not sure why it works. The vet diagnosed a pollen allergy and gave him antihistamine and a steroid with absolutely no effect. He has a slight runny nose and does snort but no more than the other horses he works with so I am not convinced it is an allergy. I am going to try equiwinner patches and will let you know how he goes.

Anonymous said...

Can I have my cake and eat it too? :) lol. I have a 7 yr old QH mare that is a photic headshaker.

I've thus far managed her condition using a nose net and a Guardian Mask. And PA-LEASE...Montepoeta. You're full of poo if you consider, "Putting that poor horse in mask and goggles seems to me to be the height of cruelty. Particularly when there is an alternative." A mask is no more cruel than a fly mask.

I have Cyproheptadine but haven't used it as my mare is a cutting horse and the side effect of lethargy isn't beneficial in the cutting pen.

I agree with Dr. Warren though. none of what is listed on Equiwinner's site is scientific. It seems to be a bunch of twinkle woo woo. I would like to see some proof of pathology please.

On the other hand if Equiwinner works... heh, what can I say? other than, thank you? A placebo effect certainly can't be claimed on a horse. The owner, yes. But if the headshaker's symptoms decrease significantly or all together disappear, it certainly wouldn't be twinkle woo woo either.

But because there isn't a 100% success rate with Equiwinner "curing" headshaking symptoms it might be hard to scientifically nail down.

Bottom line: If you get the results without any negatives, why not use it? Even without scientific reasons behind it. How is it any different than using a mask, nose net, or even Cyproheptadine (which they don't know how or why it works, just that it does)?

If anyone ever figures out the trigger for the syndrome... now that would be the ticket.

Susan Walker said...

I have several friends whose horses are anhydrotic in the Memphis, TN area. All tried One AC which failed. All tried beer which helped some.
Now Equiwinner has been in use for a couple of years with complete success. They are able to ride and compete their horses in the summer without overheating. They are sweating.

I have a horse that I purchased last spring. Rode all winter. Now discovered he has headshaking syndrome since I am riding still and it is now March 29. Walk or trot along and all of a sudden this perfectly wonderful trail horse throws his head down and violently rubs his nose on his legs or on the ground as if to get fire ants off ! Not safe. Have ordered the Equiwinner. Will let you know the results. This is a Percheron/TB age 10.

Nancy said...

I'm a consumer of these patches for my anhydronic mare. They work. Period.
In her case the combination of thyroid, One ac and a 1 to 2 times a year patch treatment. I need all three for my horse. Every horse is different.
Took a long time to figure out how to help my horse and the Equiwinner patch is part of our treatment plan.

Dr. Alan Weldon said...

Thanks for the comment. I love your faith in those patches because "they work" ...as long as you give 1 AC in combination with "Thyroid". So to be so snarky but its just voodoo. Zero scienec zero medicine. Just because symptoms improve it doesnt mean that what you did caused it or possibly it could be any of the things you used...but I doubt it. If "they work" use them ALONE and see.again, I doubt it. Its just another medical scam.