Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Conservative Approach for Healing Horses - Full Article

by: Maureen Blaney Flietner
August 01 2012, Article # 20408

Many veterinarians recommend R&R and controlled exercise to heal tendon and ligament injuries

Despite the numerous newfangled tricks and treatments available, time and R&R remain essential for helping a horse recover from tendon or ligament injury. That can be good or bad news, depending on owner expectations for the horse's performance.

Both tendons and ligaments are soft tissues. They sustain injury via similar forces, respond to damage in a similar fashion, and heal at almost the same rates. That typically amounts to eight months.

But why so long? The body's healing system is complex, explains Duncan F. Peters, DVM, MS, director of the Sport Horse Division at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, in Lexington, Ky. While newer treatments might provide functional improvement in the healing process, they do not speed up the process itself, he notes. "The time factor is still necessary, and R&R is part of the process."

Root Causes

Tendon and ligament injuries arise from a variety of sources, such as conformational faults, fatigue, and lameness, that can lead to overload. Exercise-related tendon and ligament injuries might occur:

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