Some high-tech therapies are more suited to specific problems, and some excel as all-around devices. They all, however, tend to be expensive.In this article, we review the characteristics of each device and discuss situations where they are most suited. If a product appears to meet your therapy needs, we recommend our back issues that discuss each in detail: Infrasound ?'' April 2001; Laser ?'' April 2000; LED ?'' July 2000; Magnets and PEMF ?'' September 1998, March 1999; Ultrasound ?'' April 2001; FES ?'' September 1998.
In our first trials, we had less than 50% success with static magnetic bell boots for foot problems. In the past year, however, we experimented using the magnets and various topical treatments and found one combination that consistently gave us better results than magnets alone: magnets and the herbal liniment Sore No-More (Equilite 800/942-5483). We saw improvement in about 75% of horses with ringbone or navicular, and we improved upon pain relief compared to that obtained with magnets alone.
Use either a rim of Sore No-More gel put onto the inside of Equine Magnetic Therapy bell boot at the level where it contacts the coronary band and upper pastern, or massage a liberal amount of Sore No-More liquid into the coronary bands and heel bulbs/cleft and apply the liquid to the interior of the boot.
Since our first articles on PEMF therapy, we followed the progress of both a tendon and a suspensory injury by ultrasound (see photos below for tendon study) and reports from attending veterinarians. In both cases, the initial rate of healing exceeded what would be expected for natural healing, from 35 to 50% more rapid filling of the defect. Structure and fiber alignment was also excellent.
Healing slowed a bit after the first three months, but total healing time was about 20% shorter than had been estimated initially. Cryomagentic therapy, treatment through an ice pack, was used for at least the initial stages of treatment. Control of swelling and pain was excellent.
In addition, Respond now has stand-alone therapy boots for lower legs and hocks. The basic unit has one setting (medium), but you can also get a pulse splitter, which allows you to use lower pulsing rates for acute injuries.
In our original article on ultrasound/infrasound, we discussed a study, documented with thermography, that showed a dramatic reduction in heat/inflammation in hocks treated with the Chi machine. Using the same treatment protocol, the study was repeated, but this time they looked at hyaluronic acid levels in treated joints compared to untreated with significant differences being noted. Untreated joints showed a drop in hyaluronic acid content as the horses were trained, while Chi-treated hocks showed a rise.
Durability Of Equipment
We’ve had most of this equipment in use for a year or more and can now report on long-term durability.
The Equine Magnetic Therapy blanket and boots launder beautifully, and we have yet to have a single stitch come loose. Seams and edging remain as tight as the first day they were used, even in heavy-use items like the bell boots, some of which have been washed well over a hundred times.??The hook-and-loop closures still work fine, too, except for where horses have chewed on them. The bell boots took the greatest beating, but because the hook-and-loop is double-layered, we’ve continued to use these boots with just a bit of reinforcing tape where the outer strap would have gone.
The Respond Bio-Pulse electromagnetic therapy equipment is also durable. The battery packs last about a year with heavy use. Chewing horses damaged a strap or two, but the material and stitching are heavy-duty. However, chewing can also damage the wiring, so horse should be kept on cross-ties during treatments. The bottom edge of the boots did fray a bit, as it is often in contact with the ground.
The BioScan neoprene LED treatment boots are well made and low maintenance. Again, the wiring is fragile, so don’t pull on them excessively or force them to conform to a shape differently.
With hand-held equipment, we’ve had our share of these mishaps and, except for one treatment head that was crushed under a horse’s foot, we’ve never had any of the equipment break, malfunction or crack.
It’s important to match your equipment choice to the injury at hand, but if we were choosing one device to have on hand for an active high-performance barn with many horses, we’d select PEMF. For less-active, lower-key situations, where time is not as a big a factor, the Chi machine would be the best choice.
If dealing with an isolated lower-leg problem, especially an old one with stiffness and pain, we’d try the Equine Magnetic Therapy static magnetic wraps first.??For more flexibility in treatment options for acute flare-ups, it’s the Bio-Pulse equipment with ice and low settings or the Equisonic.??The Bio-Pulse boots might offer the best combination of price, treatment options for acute and chronic times and the convenience of hands-free treatment.
Contact Your Local Tack Store Or: Norfields 800/344-8400; Theraquine 800/822-6745; Respond Systems, Inc. 800/722-1228; Impulse Corporation 801/731-0867; Equine Magnetic Therapy/BioFlex 800/731-8463; Equine Magnetic Solutions 800/957-4454; Magnetic NRG 800/451-0335; The Magnetic Force 516/333-3384; Thor Laser Products 540/942-4500; Bioscan System 800/388-2712; Light Force Therapy 888/259-9996; Mettler Electronics 800/854-9305; Chi Animal Therapeutics 877/244-6942.