The Horse

OCT 2017

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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45 October 2017 THE HORSE long time, say six months to a year," she says. "In addition, if I want a horse to be treated daily, all of these modalities are so much more helpful and so much faster if you can do them every day." A Word of Caution Creating an analgesic effect— particularly in the neck—with steroid injections or ESWT could lead to safety issues, warns Denton. "For cervical neck compression issues or cases when the articular facets (protuberances on the ver- tebrae) are enlarged enough to put pres- sure on the spinal cord, we can provide relief and improve symptoms, but I warn people I don't think the horse is safe for certain disciplines, like jumping, because there can still potentially be some insta- bility or pressure." Schlachter also advises owners to consider what they come across when re- searching modality options. "I'd be careful about what you read from the manu- facturers themselves," she says. "A lot of companies actually quote from the same research, so although the research was do- ne on a different modality, they are using that research to back up their product. Often, what they are saying isn't directly related to the modality or therapy." The Take-Away When dealing with upper-body issues: ■ Consider the whole horse. "Many issues are not just primary; you'll often have another issue," Denton says; ■ Be open to multiple treatment options; and ■ Stay proactive. "The best advice I can give owners is to make a daily routine of core body exercises, which also provides stability even for lower limbs," says Denton. "Working your horse on different footings, developing core strength, and not always riding in the same discipline will improve the longevity of your horse, the ability to prevent injuries, and reoccurrence of injury. With muscle, tendon, and liga- ment strength, the horse is less likely to have injuries." Check back in December for Part 2 on rehabilitating lower limb injuries. h Assess Saddle Fit When back issues arise, don't overlook saddle fit. Stephen Denton, DVM, owner of Abingdon Equine Veterinary Services, in Virginia, and provider of sports medicine and lameness services through Performance Equine Vets, in Aiken, South Carolina, explains that once rehabbed horses can return to work, an experienced saddle fitter should assess whether the saddle is configured appropriately for that particular horse. "I do believe some of our primary back issues are caused by improper-fitting saddles," he says. "Often, I find stables using one saddle on many different horses, and back issues may arise from this since every horse's back is shaped a bit differently. Improper saddle fit leads to back pain; it obviously makes it difficult to rehab a horse if we continue to use the same saddle and not correct this as a source of pain."—Natalie DeFee Mendik, MA 1351 WEST HIGHWAY 56 • OLATHE, KANSAS 66061 • 913-390-6184 • CENTAURANIMALHEALTH.COM

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