The Powerful Benefits of Equine Hydrotherapy
Human beings visit spas to unwind, de-stress and, sometimes, recover from injuries. Did you know that equine spas are all the rage in the horsing world? There are three crucial ingredients for this therapy: cold water, salt, and a special treadmill that keeps your horse walking in temperature-controlled water. This treatment helps specific injuries including swelling, joints, tendon and suspensory ligaments and lower limbs that are recovering from surgery.
Horses keep human beings happy and healthy in so many ways; it is only logical that we provide them with the help they need when they are recovering from surgery or an injury, and a visit to an equine spa is an ideal way to do so.
What Conditions can Equine Hydrotherapy Help With?
Case studies have shown that equine hydrotherapy can help horses heal from a number of conditions, including wounds, inflammation, tendon injuries, lymphedema, and windgall. The latter is a common problem that causes swelling in the digital tendon sheath (a fluid-filled ‘sleeve’ that covers the flexor tendons over the back of the fetlock joint).
Hydrotherapy is also used with rehabilitation after sinew and ligament injuries, treatment of sore shins, and treatment of spinal and back problems. Equine hydrotherapy can also increase muscular strength, improve heart health, and provide horses with a gentle form of exercise that does not harm their joints.
Although there have been no large-scale studies on the efficacy of equine hydrotherapy, there are numerous testimonials from veterinarians indicating the impressive reduction in recovery time when this therapy is relied upon.
What are the Precise Requirements of Equine Hydrotherapy?
In the same ways that pools for humans require a particular chemistry (i.e. the right balance between pH levels, alkalinity, calcium hardness, and adequate sanitizing levels), so too does equine hydrotherapy have its own scientific requirements. Equine spa solutions are usually chilled to between 35ºF and 37ºF, to lower swelling and pain and to stop enzyme degeneration of tendons after an injury.
The salt content of the solution also has to be just right; salt essentially makes the water more dense, which enhances fluid and waste dispersal. Finally, water must be aerated. Rising bubbles massage the horse’s leg the way a hot tub or circuit pool does for humans, which is very soothing for horses.
There is nothing new about relying on seawater to promote healing, but equine therapy is still relatively new. Overwhelmingly positive feedback from veterinarians and horse owners, however, indicates that this therapy is useful in reducing the period of inflammation post surgery or injury, greatly ameliorating the pain that injured horses face.