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Keeping Your Horse’s Joints Healthy
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Keeping Your Horse’s Joints Healthy

Horses enjoy jumping fences, galloping, or simply breezing down a large pasture area. While all these activities are quite normal for the animal, performing these tricks requires healthy joints. While keeping your horse’s joints healthy isn’t that hard, if not done, it can cause severe damage and even destroy the career of a performance horse. This is why being aware of the best ways of caring for your horse is important.

Understanding the Stages of the Problem

The moment you find that your horse is unable to perform as well as he used to, get him checked. Diagnosing the case and delivering the right kind of treatment depends on the type of injury and the stage at which it is at.

In the initial stage, the veterinarian will focus on reducing pain and making sure the joints don’t waste away. They ensure there isn’t too much inflammation and the range of motion of the joint is unaffected. The second stage is usually after the surgery when the inflammation has gone. At this point, you need to slowly increase stress on the tissues that are healing. This is needed to make sure no scarred tissues develop.

Best Methods for Rehabilitative Treatment

While there is no fixed solution that can solve the entire problem, you need to have a dedicated team of veterinarians, therapists, and other professionals at hand. Equine rehabilitation is still a widely used method, however, there are some new ones that are also being found to be effective in healing horse joints.

Focussing on massages and mobilization can help bring motion back into the joints, even if it is a severe injury. These manual therapies are useful in increasing blood flow, reducing damage to the lymph, easing muscle spasms, and scar tissue, and are also seen to be cost-effective. Muscle and nerve movement can also be facilitated through joint mobilization, whether active or passive.

You can also make use of cold therapy to reduce cell metabolism and circulation, pain, and fluid swelling. This method works by constricting the blood vessels thereby reducing the possibility of Edema, haemorrhage, and leaking of cells into nearby tissues. Cold therapy can be done through immersion, ice packs, boots that promote ice water circulation, and so on. Heat therapy works in the same manner but you need to be very careful when applying heat.

Using Therapeutic Ultrasound

Therapeutic Ultrasound can be used for musculoskeletal problems. It reduces swelling, decreases pain and spasms and improves joint motion along with promoting proper blood flow. Similarly, low-level laser therapy can be used to stimulate responses. It reduces repair time and swelling, increases serotonin, and aids in faster recovery of skin wounds.   

Coupled with targeted exercising, these methods can go a long way in getting the horse back to its former condition. However, take it slow as excessive exercise can have negative implications as well. Most joint injuries can be rehabilitated and cured completely, however, this requires a lot of time and patience so it is best not to wait for the last moment and instead, ensure you keep your horse’s joints healthy at all times.

Disclaimer: Of Horse! and sponsors do not endorse nor validate the accuracy of a blog post. Each article is the opinion of the blogger.

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