Horses who take part in sports have a general inevitable occurrence of receiving a soft-tissue injury. Because of this, a lot of work is needed to ensure that the horse is able to recover the right way, which means that human intervention is an absolute must in all cases. A soft-tissue injury later on means rehabilitation for horses.
The Healing Process of Soft-Tissue in Horses
Alan Manning is a practitioner for sports horses. He owns the Manning Equine Veterinary Service located in Orton, Ontario in Canada. He states that the recovery process where soft-tissue injuries are concerned is approximately 75% rehabilitation and 25% treatment.
“The tissue needs to be taught how to do the job it’s designed to do during the healing process of the soft-tissue. This must be done carefully and gradually throughout the rehabilitation process,” he comments.
When asked his beliefs on rehabilitation when acute inflammation is associated with an injury that has subsided, he had this to say:
“Getting the injured horse to move around is very important when it comes to preventing scar tissue from forming, as well as promoting the tendon and ligaments’ elasticity to improve. Overall, this will help in the prevention of secondary issues arising from stall rests that are long-term. Gastrointestinal issues are a prime example of what could go wrong here.”
The Process of Treatment and Rehabilitation
Manning stated that the rehabilitation plan must be put into writing first. This is so everyone involved will be on the same page and able to follow the precise information needed for the process of treatment and rehabilitation. A soft-tissue injury later, horses will recover faster as long as the process begins with this exact first step. This includes the owner(s), trainer, groomers, veterinarian, blacksmith, etc.
The owner(s) will need to work with the veterinarian to ensure that the horses’ unique injuries are being highlighted properly. Hand-walking, walking under the saddle, adding trot, adding canter, and skill work are all methods that are recommended and typically used during this process.
However, the veterinarian in charge will decide which methods are best for the horse, considering all horses are unique and handle injuries differently. Manning had this to say when it comes to the reassessing of the horse throughout the duration of treatment and rehabilitation:
“It’s crucial that the reassessment where the injury is concerned is conducted with ultrasounds and examinations that look for lameness on a regular, scheduled basis. This could be from between every four to every six weeks. Doing so will ensure that the increased and continued stress on the one area is not having a negative effect on the process of healing.”
Treating and Rehabilitating One Horse at a Time
Manning points out that the rehabilitation and treatment may change depending on the results of the methods and examinations used for a particular horse. However, he also pointed out that they should be conducted before a workload step up can occur.
With the proper treatment, rehabilitation, and overall care, a soft-tissue injury later becomes a problem that is easily solved through the knowledge of what worked the first time.
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