Tendon Injuries in Horses: Facts That Might Surprise You

When horses develop a tendon injury, it can be quite challenging for their owners. Experts recognise two ways horses can injure their tendons. The first is usually as a result of external trauma from a blow or laceration, while the second cause could be from over-loading.

Just as much as we are looking at the causes of tendon injuries, it would also be interesting to know the type of treatments which can be used for them.

Here are some of the facts about the treatment of tendon injuries which will surprise you.

Long Periods of Box Rest Isn’t Necessary

People believe that they should manage the tendon injury by keeping the horse in box-rest for a long time. This method isn’t always appropriate. Though there is a guideline on the timeframe for the rehabilitation of tendon injuries, this method can be modified, depending on the progress of clinical treatment, which is usually judged by the veterinarian using ultrasound.

New Treatments Should Be Carefully Considered

One of the challenges veterinarians experience is deciding if a new treatment will work. They will need to check records of clinical cases which are usually very difficult to access. There are very few tendon treatments which vets can confidently say work. That is why new procedures should be approached with care. It is essential not to use treatments that have no proof of success, which may likely cause horses harm.

Firing Tendons Is Ineffective

When a treatment doesn’t seem to be working, it should be abandoned. One good example is firing tendons, which studies have proved over time does not yield positive results. It is better to move on to a more established treatment for tendon injuries, and this would require much consideration, as well as advice from a vet.

Intense Exercise Can Cause an Injury

Cyclical loading may seem like it is suitable for a healthy tendon, but it also causes accumulated microdamage in horses which are more than three years old. Also, straining repeatedly will weaken the tendon, and doing a bout of intense exercise when riding the horse will eventually cause the tendon serious injury.

Prevention or Cure?

Studies have continued to identify two major preventive approaches. The first being to strengthen the tendons resistance to injury at the period of its competitive life-span by enhancing it. This can be done by using conditioning methods. The second approach will be to slow down or stop the degenerative process. An example of this is the method being developed for counteracting the cellular ageing process.

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