Are you trying to keep your horse at peak performance? Have you noticed issues in your riding, such as difficulty with collection? Is your horse exhibiting signs of pain or discomfort, such as bucking, pinning his ears, or a reluctance to do activities he used to enjoy? If so, your horse might benefit from an in-depth veterinary evaluation and sports medicine therapy recommendations.
We typically use several tools to help us get a clear picture of your horse’s health. Along with a complete examination, we may use diagnostic nerve blocks, digital radiographs, ultrasound, and/or endoscopy. After evaluating your horse and taking into consideration your performance goals, we will determine the best therapy for your horse. Some options include systemic therapies, joint injections, and regenerative therapies such as shockwave therapy and platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatment. If your horse needs a surgical procedure, we will refer you to the best hospital or specialist for your horse’s needs.
Maybe you noticed your horse is favoring one leg, or perhaps your horse just doesn’t feel right when riding. Either way, lameness is one of the most common – and frustrating – issues affecting horses and their owners. However, with better diagnostic and treatment options, lameness issues can often be managed with good veterinary care.
First, we look at the entire history of the horse to try to assess any underlying problems. Then we complete a physical evaluation, followed by an evaluation of your horse’s gaits. Next, limb flexions help us isolate the affected area, and a local anesthetic to the affected joint or area helps us isolate the issue. Finally, an ultrasound or radiograph gives us a more complete view of the area. This process lets us develop a diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan that’s right for you and your horse.
What Does Lameness Feel Like is a great article written by the Irongate Team.
imaging - ultrasound & radiographs
If your horse has an injury or lameness issue, using an ultrasound and/or digital radiograph might help us visualize the problem and obtain a diagnosis. We maintain top of the line equipment to get the best possible image of your horse's skeletal or soft tissue issues.
Ultrasounds are used when evaluating your horse’s soft tissues, like ligaments and tendons. Damage to these structures often causes lameness. Digital radiographs give us high quality images of joints and bones. With digital radiographs, the images are available immediately so diagnosis and treatment can often be accomplished in one visit.
shock wave therapy
Lameness issues can be very frustrating for horse owners, often entailing lengthy recoveries and difficult long-term treatment plans. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Technology (ESWT) helps the body relieve pain, speed healing, and improve the quality of healing. With shock wave therapy, we can accelerate the healing process for tendon, ligament, and bone issues, back and poll soreness, and recurrent wounds your horse may develop.
To ensure your horse is comfortable and relaxed during what may be an uncomfortable treatment process, we may use a mild sedative prior to beginning. The ESWT then provides a high-energy, focused pressure wave that causes a biological change in the tissues being treated. It will stimulate the release of proteins associated with the healing process, as well as regulate inflammation. Results are typically seen after 1 – 3 treatments, which can be completed in conjunction with other treatments, such as PRP or steroids, to increase the efficacy of those therapies.