NYEF has an ECB Equine Spa that uses saltwater therapy combined with massaging jets. This form of therapy is extremely beneficial and revitalizing to the horse. The cold water constricts the capillaries, reducing inflammation by slowing the vasodilation that brings fluids, proteins and fibrinogen to the injured area. Since too much of these “helpful” substances can cause hypoxia, it is good to limit them. The saltwater reduces the pain transmission since nerve responses are slowed by the cold. This combined therapy also stimulates blood flow and lymphatic drainage in the skin and superficial tissues by massaging the area. The use of cold water therapy is most effective within the first 48 hours following an injury, and then through supportive care throughout the duration of recovery. It is also useful in reducing post-training/competition inflammation and swelling because the massage jets increase circulation and relax sore muscles.
The Therapeutic Effects
The list of therapeutic effects of the ECB Equine Spa at NYEF are detailed below for your reference.
ECB Spa solution is maintained between 2 and 4 °c (35 f), to minimize heat and inflammation. This provides analgesic pain management as well as inhibiting enzyme degeneration of tendons post injury.
The ECB salt solution acts as a hypertonic poultice as well as having a natural healing effect on wounds. Water density increases with salt concentration, which in turn increases pressure to aid fluid and waste dispersal.
Water aeration has a massaging effect on the leg and increases the dissolved oxygen content of the spa solution.
The depth of the water is proportional to the pressure exerted on the leg which aids fluid and waste dispersal; this can be varied according to position and severity of injury. Water hygiene levels are continually being maintained with a combination of fine filtration, chlorination, cold water and salt. These same factors not only prevent further micro-biological infections but actually help treat any pre-existing conditions. The therapeutic factors of cold water salt hydrotherapy can be used to treat any cause of inflammation within the tissues of the lower legs.
The ECB Equine Spa at NYEF can treat a range of injuries as well as help in preventative care and maintenance for your performance horse. Cold salt water hydrotherapy treatment can be used for all forms of lower leg inflammation, removing the painful fluid swellings associated with injury.
Tendonitis is one of the principal injuries associated with performance horses as often repair is not fully successful. For example, initial injury may start as a bruise or strain to the collagen fibers which then become inflamed and further deteriorate under the influence of collagenase. In repair new collagen fibers form but often form cross links due to lingering swelling which are weak and re-injure. Cold hydrotherapy treatment minimizes the effect of collegenase by keeping the leg temperature lower; and by reducing the swelling, allows collagen fibers to repair neatly.
Injury is common when horses slip, twist the leg, or where over extension of the fetlock occurs regularly during exercise. Injury of the ligament could occur in a similar manner to tendonitis, or ligament separation from bone, may result in intense inflammation and pain. Repair is slow and replacement collagen must form correctly to prevent re-injury, hence the importance to keep swelling down for straight collagen repair.
Bone provides the living scaffold for movement and injury can cause the degeneration of bone and joint tissue. Swelling and pain result due to inflammation and unless the progressive changes are stopped, deterioration will continue to worsen.
All the different structures that make up the hoof can be injured either from concussion, trauma, shoeing and/or nutrition. Each results in its own type of inflammation and sometimes is associated with infection. Cold poultice treatment to the hoof has been a traditional therapy to these injuries and the cold water spa expedites the healing of same.
During exercise, pressure on the digital extensor tendon sheath down the front of the cannon bone, can cause the attachment of the sheath to the bone to lift in young horses. As exercise increases, the inflammation worsens with fluid, separating the sheath and bone further. Spa treatment minimizes the inflammation of sore shins and bucked shins.
Concussion soreness is a common result where horses work on hard surfaces after lead up exercise on softer going. The bone tissues are stressed and inflammation commences throughout the bones without showing signs of fluid or swelling. The salt water spa helps to heal bruising.
When stress injuries develop in the tissues surrounding joints and ligaments, the synovial membranes produce excess fluid, causing the joint or tendon sheaths to swell. Inflammation can be minimized by the salt water spa.
Abrasion to skin cells allows the entry of various micro-organisms resulting in inflammation. Both inflammation and the micro-organic cause require elimination. Cold water hydrotherapy speeds up the healing process due to the salt content of the water acting as a poultice. Many of the artificial surfaces that horses work on are abrasive and can irritate skin on lower leg.
Prevention is always better than a cure. By regular use of cold water therapy immediately after hard exercise, many of the stress points within tissues are lessened or removed before inflammation develops. The cold water spa also significantly improves surface bone density, thereby reducing the opportunity for bone stress related injuries to commence.