Sport Horse Lameness and Medicine
From veterinary practice as well as personal riding experience, our veterinarians have a wide body of knowledge with regards to performance horses in a variety of disciplines. Whether your complaint is poor performance or that your horse is not moving well, we will perform a full evaluation to identify the source of your horse’s problem and work with you to determine the most appropriate course of treatment. A typical lameness evaluation includes a thorough history, a physical evaluation, a gait evaluation, and often more specific diagnostics including nerve and/or joint anesthesia as well as digital radiology (x-ray) and ultrasound. Potential treatment options may include specific rehabilitation programs, therapeutic ultrasound, shockwave therapy, joint treatment, platelet rich plasma (PRP), as well as acupuncture and chiropractic. Additionally, we work closely with several surrounding referral hospitals. If your horse needs a diagnostic or treatment option that we cannot offer in a field setting, we will be happy to refer you to get the care required.
This examination is designed to help you in making one of the most important decisions in horse ownership. Whether the horse is intended for pleasure riding, showing, or as your child’s first pony, we will evaluate for overall health conditions as well as other potential concerns such as vices or behavioral issues. This examination can range from a very thorough physical examination of all the body systems and gait evaluation to a more complete examination including radiographs (x-rays), ultrasound, and endoscopy. Prior to the scheduled appointment, we ask that both the buyer and seller fill out pre-purchase forms. These forms allow the doctor to review important information before the examination takes place.
From lameness to reproduction, we are pleased to offer advanced diagnostic capabilities. These include digital radiology (x-ray), digital ultrasonography (sonogram), and endoscopy (used to evaluate the head and respiratory tract).
A shockwave is an acoustic (pressure) wave with very high amplitude and rapid rise time. The original use of shockwave therapy was to aid in fragmentation of uroliths (bladder stones) in people. Stemming from this, studies have also shown that shockwave therapy has the ability to increase blood flow and the formation of new blood vessels, provide pain relief (analgesia), and aid in tissue healing. In equine medicine, shockwave therapy has many treatment applications some of which include soft tissue injuries (tendons and ligaments), axial skeletal pain (back and neck), splints, osteoarthritis, navicular disease, and more.
Routine oral examinations and dental care is essential to the overall health of your horse. On average, we recommend an oral examination be performed at least once a year. Oral and dental examinations begin with a discussion of your horse’s dental history including any weight changes and eating abnormalities, nasal discharge or foul odors, as well as performance issues. Proper oral examination with sedation and an oral speculum, allows for a complete oral examination and for dentistry to be performed safely and effectively. Most dental floats are performed with motorized equipment. Dental services are scheduled with either Dr. Martin or Dr. Waring, both of whom have experience and training in equine dentistry.
The cornerstone of any comprehensive health care program is prevention of disease and common health problems. As part of a preventative program, we offer routine physical examinations, vaccinations, individualized deworming protocols, coggins testing and other routine blood panels, as well as nutritional consultations.
For our routine clients that engage us in regular care of their horses, we are happy to provide 24/7 emergency care for your horse. Additionally, one of our doctors is always available by phone, even if you just need to ask a question.
Whether for your retired equine companion or a current athlete, regular chiropractic care can help restore normal joint motion, stimulate neurologic reflexes, and reduce overall pain and muscle spasm to aid in overall body health. A chiropractic examination evaluates and corrects “vertebral subluxation complexes.” This term used to describe “a complex of functional and/or structural and/or pathological articular changes that comprise neural integrity and may influence organ system function and general health.” These subluxations can occur from a single traumatic event, or more often, are caused by microtrauma or repetitive stress injuries from daily life, compensation, or related to performance work. Regular chiropractic care can help with prevention as well as early identification of potential medical issues and allow for the prompt initiation of adjunctive treatments if necessary. Chiropractic appointments are schedule with Dr. Martin. She completed training for animal chiropractic through Options for Animal Chiropractic College and is certificated through the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association.
Medical acupuncture is a therapeutic method that usually involves the insertion of fine, sterile needles. Modern medical practitioners developed medical acupuncture as an adaptation of Chinese acupuncture. Instead of relying on inexact metaphors to describe the body’s responses to treatment, we employ current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology, all in keeping with evidence-based medicine. The main therapeutic effects of needling begin with activation of nerve fibers near a point. These stimuli then bring about changes that help to balance nerve signaling and neurotransmitter activity from the “periphery” (i.e., the acupuncture point) to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and autonomic nervous system centers (that govern processes like glandular activity, immune status, digestion, mood, and more). Acupuncture also releases tension from the muscles and enveloping fibrous network called “fascia”. Each acupuncture appointment is individually tailored to the horse based on their medical history and a thorough myofascial examination to identify areas of discomfort and tension. The number of treatments required varies from horse to horse but in general three sessions at one week intervals are recommended. Results are generally seen after the second to third appointment. Conditions that acupuncture can be particularly useful for managing include sore backs and necks, chronic laminitis or navicular disease, allergies, anhidrosis, equine asthma (“heaves”) and many more