EQUINE PHYSIOTHERAPY

DOES MY HORSE NEED PHYSIOTHERAPY?

Physiotherapy can either be used for rehabilitation post injury or surgery, for maintenance of long-term conditions, or for improving general wellbeing. Signs your horse may need physiotherapy are as follows:

 

  • Change in behaviour

  • Unhappy to be tacked up

  • Rearing, bucking or napping

  • Reluctance to move forwards

  • Poor performance

  • Reduced suppleness or straightness

  • Difficulty collecting or moving laterally

  • Jump refusals

  • Knocking poles

  • Reluctant to accept a contact

  • Disunited in canter or difficulty cantering on one rein

  • High head carriage and/or hollowing

  • Muscle wastage

  • Dragging toes

  • Difficulty getting up

If your horse is lame, you will need to make an appointment with your veterinarian; physiotherapy may only commence once the lameness has been diagnosed with permission from your vet. 

HOW WILL PHYSIOTHERAPY HELP MY HORSE?

Physiotherapy uses a combination of manual techniques, such as massage and stretching; electrotherapies including ultrasound, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, TENs, NMES, and laser; husbandry advice and exercise prescription.  Together the modalities compliment each other in reducing pain whilst re-balancing muscle groups after compensatory gait patterns, to prevent the re-occurance of primary and thus secondary, compensatory pain.  

Exercise programmes will also help target particular muscle groups which will improve competition performance and management of long-term conditions such as osteoarthritis.

WHAT WILL I NEED TO DO?

A treatment plan will be formulated after the initial assessment.  Depending on findings, you may be advised to follow a programme including exercises, hot/cold therapy, stretching and environmental advice.  If your horse has had a tendon or ligament injury or severe build up of scar tissue, ultrasound may be required 2-3 times a week which must be carried out by a qualified physiotherapist.  There are electrotherapy only appointments available for this purpose.

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