The Horse

DEC 2018

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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Page 35 of 51

36 December 2018 The Horse | and physical/rehabilitation therapy. "What we have learned from decades of work in human medicine is that many types of arthritis can benefit from cor- rect movement to help realign the joint," says Sheila Schils, PhD in kinesiology/ biomechanics. She is co-founder of and clinician at EquiNew, in River Falls, Wisconsin, which specializes in thera- peutic modalities. "This realignment is necessary due to the fact that incorrect biomechanics of the joints can cause un- equal pressure and eventual breakdown of the joint, causing pain. "A good analogy is what happens if the wheels of your truck are not sitting on the axle straight and balanced; the tires will wear unevenly," she adds. "The outer edge of the tire can look like new, while the inner edge of the tire is worn down to the steel belts. Therefore, just changing the tires will not solve the problem. Instead, you need to fix the alignment of the wheel on the axle. This is the foundation behind the science of using correct movement patterns and correct lengths of time spent moving as soon as possible after diagnos- ing a problem to shorten and improve healing rates." Before instituting a rehabilitation plan, however, have your veterinarian perform a complete lameness exam so you have an accurate diagnosis of the problem. Rehabilitation protocols are horse- specific, but as you work through the first phase of your rehab plan, Schils says to: ■ See how "straight" the horse is when walking away from and toward you; ■ Look to see if the hind hooves fall into the tracks of the front hooves; ■ Observe if both hind and front legs are striding with equal length; ■ Ask the horse to take longer and short- er strides and see how he bends in the fore- and hind-limb joints, noting if he loses straightness during these changes in stride length; and ■ Discontinue lateral bending exercises in the early stages of rehabilitation. Keep the horse as straight as possible to encourage correct joint alignment and to re-establish correct weight-bearing on the limbs. Then reintroduce correct bending gradually as rehab progresses. Schils stresses the importance of keep- ing expectations for the outcome of reha- bilitation reasonable, based on the degree of arthritis and the rider or trainer's skill. Q Are horses with arthritis simply not going to improve? Is it really just about managing pain? Yes. As unpleasant as this answer might be, and despite decades of research in this field in humans and animals, a cure for OA (i.e., reversal of the disease process) remains elusive. Pain control is a key component of managing arthritic horses, which you and your veterinarian can address both pharmaceutically and with complementary and alternative therapies. "Unfortunately, factors outside the joint environment also impact a horse's condition, such as the overall health of the animal, endocrine status, rules governing drug usage and withdrawal times in com- petition, and even owner expectations and financial commitment," says Contino. h Equine Osteoarthritis Veterinary Use Only. Patent Nos.: 6,979,679 / 7,485,629 / 8,455,458. CAUTION: This device is restricted to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. WARNING: Do not administer to animals that are to be slaughtered for use in food. Keep out of reach of children. Polyglycan ® is a registered trademark of Bimeda, Inc. All rights reserved. © 2018 Bimeda, Inc. in their joints. Winning in their blood. For more information, please visit or call 1-888-524-6332. · Veterinarian trusted since 2006 · Patented formulation · High viscosity solution of Hyaluronic Acid, Chondroitin and Glucosamine

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