Why Veterinary Physiotherapy?

Why would my horse need veterinary physiotherapy?

Horses are fantastic animals, and most are expected to perform for us, whether it be for leisure riding or competitive activities. They are also fantastic at masking slight issues until it becomes a noticeable performance problem or lameness. 

Of course they are also notorious at getting themselves injured after which most horses recover by around 80%, then as they are prey animals they will begin to compensate so they can move around. This may not be a problem to begin with but eventually other compensations will begin to occur and may manifest as larger scale problems either in performance or temperament. 

Horses also may have musculoskeletal conditions which may either require surgery, or with the appropriate management may strengthen the musculature to avoid surgical intervention (under the consent of your veterinarian). 

Post-surgical physiotherapy relieves pain, rebuilds muscular strength, increases mobility, and correct movement patterns for long term health. 

Some neurological cases can also greatly benefit with physiotherapy to condition muscles for joint support, such neurological cases should be under the care of your veterinarian. 

Maintenance physiotherapy is recommended every 3-6 months for everyday leisure horses, and more often for competitive horses. 

Maintenance physiotherapy ensures a base level of comfort for your horse and may also help to enhance your horse’s performance. 

Vet physio is highly used both pre- and post-surgically and if possible as a preventative measure. Pre-surgically physiotherapy aims to strengthen soft tissues around a joint and lengthen contracted tissues to increase joint stability post-op. 

Post-surgical physiotherapy relieves pain, rebuilds muscular strength, increases mobility, and correct movement patterns for long term health. 

Neurological cases also benefit greatly from physiotherapy for muscle and joint support, especially if the dog cannot move itself at this point. Physiotherapy can keep muscles active and neurological pathways can be re-activated through sensory stimulation. Joint range of motion can be kept normal so that if your dog becomes ready to weight bear all limbs they will be better prepared! 

Signs your horse may benefit from veterinary physiotherapy:

  • Previous lameness issues. 
  • Post-surgical physiotherapy.
  • Notable injuries.
  • Loss of performance. 
  • Difficulty maintaining a certain canter lead or balance on one rein.
  • Loss of muscle definition to a limb.
  • Hollowing and rushing through ridden work. 
  • Bucking and other behavioural signs when exercises. 
  • Changes in temperament in the stable. 
  • Difficulty bending in a certain direction. 

What to expect from your session:

  • A thorough history will be taken to fully understand the nature of the horse’s complaint. 
  • The horse will then be assessed in walk and trot to establish any asymmetries. 
  • A lunging or ridden assessment may be required if the signs indicate such.
  • Muscle development will be checked and discussed with you as the owner so you can understand any areas of weakness and the impacts this may have on your horse’s way of going. 
  • Following this your horse will receive either massage and soft tissue techniques or electrotherapy. 
  • Your vet physio will then discuss any management options that will enhance your horse benefits from the session and any exercises you can apply.

Physiotherapy benefits:

  • Your horse’s performance may improve with physiotherapy.
  • Comfort levels will rise and a freer moving horse may be noted. 
  • Pain relief benefits mean your horse is less stressed and may rule out the requirement for pharmaceutical drugs. 
  • Your horse’s tissues will become more relaxed.
  • Stretching re-aligns tissues for better healing and movement benefits, improving joint stability and range of motion.
  • Overall posture improvements and strength gains give you a healthier horse, who can perform to the best of their ability!

Contact Info

  • 07432782523
  • Hot2TrotVP@hotmail.com
  • Based in Grimsby, Covering Lincolnshire.

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