The Benefits of Cold, Salt water therapy

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Equine Bone Chip Rehabilitation

Bone Chip Rehabilitation

Bone chips found in either the knee or fetlock are relatively common in athletic horses.  They can be a result of intense training.   The bone chips are benign themselves; however,  the chips cause discomfort due to compromising the affected joints' movement.  They are usually removed surgically.

Historically, the rehabilitation program has been to keep the horse resting in his/her stall fro 2-4 weeks depending on the size and/or location of the chips.   This is typically followed by handwalks and slow return to work.  

With the HUGE advancements in human sports medicine recently, equine therapists are beginning to see the value of an active rehabilitation program.   With active rehabilitation, the patients keeps their fitness and strength levels during the rehabilitation period.  The therapists also have tools to relieve inflammation and range of motion exercises as well as deal with any compensatory problems.  As we have learned from professional athletes, the improvement in surgical techniques as well as an agressive rehabilitation program will help bring these equine athletes back strong and balanced.

Bone Chip Rehabilitation Protocal:

Post Surgery

 Therapeutic laser treatments on surgery site.  3x/week for 2 weeks
 five minute hand walks 2x/day,  cryotherapy (cold) 2x/day

14 days Post Surgery

Stitches removed,  10 minute walks 2x/day.   Vibration plate daily for 10 min at low setting.  Range of motion exercises and Cryotherapy (cold) daily.

30 days Post Surgery:

20 minute walks daily (increase 5 minutes/week) - walk over poles/cavaletti's helps increase range of motion, Introduce water treadmill - water at fetlock level 3x/week.  Vibration plate daily for 20 minutes.

60 days Post Surgery:

Begin short trot sets and increasing water level (every other day).  Vibration plate daily for 20 minutes and begin increasing work load.  

This active rehabilitation helps to improve the prognosis of the horse. Following the protocols of professional athletic trainers, the equine therapists are finding that many of their horses are returning to work stronger and better equipped to continue their careers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Suspensory ligament lesion with Sesamoid fracture

4 year old TB Stallion came to Eclipse from Santa Anita with a longitudinal lesion to the Suspensory ligament with a fractured Sesamoid bone which was repaired surgically at the track.   His prognosis to return to racing was FAIR.

Treatment began with FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation) therapy to the suspensory ligament followed by cold salt water spa therapy.  He received FES treatments three times/week and received Salt water spa therapy daily.  

After 30 days, he began with 5 min handwalker twice daily.  We continued to treat his ligament with FES and salt water spa therapy.

At the 90 day point, we had the ligament ultrasounded and determined the treatment plan was going wll.    We continued with the handwalks and began Underwater treadmill sessions with very shallow water for 5 minutes in duration.   We began with a depth of mid-cannon bone and treatments were 3x/week with a day off in between.  

At 120 days (4 months), we were able to turn him out in a very small (supervised) paddock.   This helped him with his mental well being as he was beginning to get a bit stirred up at this point.  

At 150 days (5 months), he had increased his time in the Underwater treadmill to 10 minutes and was now at a depth of hock level.   We followed his Underwater treadmill sessions with Salt water spa.  The depth of hock level is ideal for suspensory ligaments injuries, because the horse tends to increase his range of motion in the lower limb joints.  This helps decrease chances of scar tissue and adhesions.  

At 6 months, we began walking under saddle with alternate days in the Underwater treadmill.  He was now walking in the Underwater treadmill for 20 minutes and we followed this with Cold Salt Spa.

At 9 months, he was in full work under saddle alternating with Underwater treadmill.  We followed his riding work with the Cold Salt Water Spa.   At this point, he received another Ultrasound and was cleared to go back into full race training.  He returned to his trainer and returned to race training.  

Friday, January 15, 2016

Benefits of Cold Salt water therapy

Cold Salt Water Therapy 

Cold, salt water has been widely recognized for its healing qualities for hundreds of years.  It has been used successfully to treat sore muscles and joints, arthritis, wound healing and skin issues.  Many athletes believe it is the key to healing and longevity in sport.  

We believe cold, salt water therapy can help heal horses with tendonitis, desmitis, arthritis and wounds as well as skin issues such as scratches.  It is an excellent therapy for acute injuries as it helps to relieve inflammation by taking away waste products and bringing in fresh blood supply to accelerate healing.  the salt allows the water to stay in a liquid state at a lower temperature without freezing as well as creating a hypertonic solution, which acts as a natural poultice.

With an injury, swelling occurs due to inflamed cells and an abundance of waste products and toxins.  Due to the swelling, the capillaries which help to circulate blood, are constricted.   This makes it very difficult to remove toxins and bring in new blood for healing.   The cold, salt water helps to decrease swelling and therefore, the capillaries are able to dilate which helps remove the toxins and bring in fresh, oxygenated blood.

Cold salt waters' therapeutic treatment lasts approximately 15 minutes and can greatly shorten healing and/or recovery time.    It is best used as a preventative treatment.  Many professional athletes realize that the key to both success and longevity in any sport is preventative therapies.  

After an equine athlete competes and/or has an intense workout, many micro-tears occur.   This is a normal result of exercise and therefore must occur for the body to become stronger.   The body naturally needs to recover and rest before it can safely compete again without injury.   In the case of horse shows, many horses are not able to fully recover before competing again.  By accelerating healing and decreasing the recovery time, the cold salt water spa can help greatly decrease the horses chance of injury.

For more information about the cold, salt water spa,  please email

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Matt and Deb Hirons

Yesterday, Matt and Deb Hirons came to visit us at our place.  It was great meeting people in the horse world who are committed to making horse more comfortable as well as their riders.   They have a fantastic tool which measures both left and right sides of the horses back in relation to the spine, as well as the angles of the spine from the withers to the lower thorax.   This measurement tells us if the horse if more muscled on a particular side.   Matt and Deb can work with your  saddle, if at all possible, to change either the tree or the flogging to adjust to the horses build.  In their experience, if they can adjust the saddle to free up the horses' movement,  many times the horse begins to become more symmetrical as their movement is not impinged by the saddle.  They usually advise on a follow up fit in 3 months to see if the saddle needs any adjustments.   I was very impressed with their commitment and expertise.   Their website is:  if you'd like to check them out.  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Saddle Fitter

Hi!  Today an independent saddle fitter, Matt Hirons,  is coming to our Therapy Center.   I look forward to meeting him and finding our more about his work.    In my experience, saddle fit can create many problems for both horse and rider.   Think about what we are asking our horses to do.  Our weight on their backs, with many riders not perfectly balanced at all times.  If the saddle is pinching the withers, or too loose and "swimming" around, it can create many problems.  I know some ill fitting saddles can be helped through special pads, etc.  as it can get pricey to buy several saddles.

I look forward to our meeting today and will post more tomorrow.