Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Cold therapy

Synonym(s): Cold physiotherapy, Thermotherapy, Thermal therapy

Contributor(s): Graham Munroe, Kate Hesse

Introduction

  • One of the oldest and simplest physical treatments in the horse is thermal therapy. Heat Heat therapy or cold therapy can be administered in a number of ways from simply applying water from a hose, to specially designed therapeutic boots.
  • The application of cold therapy is the most common and its physiological benefits include reductions in local circulation, inflammation, tissue swelling, and pain sensation.
  • Cold therapy is most effective if used in the acute phase post injury or surgery.
  • The precise effect of cold therapy on various equine musculoskeletal injuries has not been extensively studied and research is needed to create evidence-based guidelines on the effective duration, frequency, temperature, and safety of application that will optimize outcomes after injury.

Uses

Advantages

  • Simple to use and readily available.
  • Relatively inexpensive, with the exception of spas and baths.
  • Effective in acute cases.
  • Multiple effects of: analgesia, restricted blood flow, and reduced tissue metabolism and activity of inflammatory enzymes.

Disadvantages

  • Not effective in chronic cases.
  • Requires repeated application to achieve results.
  • Some of the more sophisticated application devices are expensive to purchase.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • King M R (2016) Principles and application of hydrotherapy for equine athletes. Vet Clin Equine 32 (1), 115-126 PubMed.
  • van Eps A W & Orsini J A (2016) A comparison of seven methods of continuous therapeutic cooling of the equine digit. Equine Vet J 48 (1), 120-124 PubMed.
  • van Eps A W & Pollitt C C (2004) Equine laminitis: cryotherapy reduces the severity of the acute lesion. Equine Vet J 36, 255-260 PubMed.
  • Petrov R et al (2003) Influence of topically applied cold treatment on core temperature and cell viability in equine superficial digital flexor tendons. Am J Vet Res 64, 835-844 PubMed.
  • Ramey D W (1999) Cold therapy in the horse. Equine Pract 21 (1), 19-21 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • Kaneps A J (2000) Tissue temperature response to hot and cold therapy in the metacarpal region of a horse. In: Proc AAEP. pp 208-213.


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