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Benefits of Equine Icing or Cold Therapy

If your horse has recently experienced an injury or you would like to reduce the risk of serious soft tissue and tendon injuries then you may want to consider non-invasive cold therapy. Our Ocala vets share some benefits of equine cold therapy and how it can help your horse heal after acute injuries.

Equine Cryotherapy in Ocala

Like humans, horses can experience injuries to their soft tissues, tendons and ligaments through regular wear and tear or accidents. Cold therapy, or equine cryotherapy, is a popular equine therapy method for cooling down tissues, reducing inflammation and swelling, reducing pain, and slowing down the inflammatory response that is responsible for tissue damage after an injury occurs.

There are a number of different methods of cold therapy for horses including standing your horse in buckets of ice/ice water, cold-hosing, or cold therapy products such as cold wraps. Here, our vets discuss equine cryotherapy, its benefits and how it can help treat horse injuries and prevent them from happening.

The Benefits of Equine Cryotherapy

Equine Cryotherapy is a great way to help protect your horse and improve their ability to recover from injury. Here are the three main benefits of cold therapy for horses:

Treating a New Injury

Cryotherapy can be used in the first 48 hours of your horse experiencing an injury. Using cold therapy on your horse during this time frame can help to immediately reduce the inflammatory response and repair the damaged blood vessels which can cause an increased amount of pain for your horse. In order to effectively reduce inflammation you want to ice for 20 minutes then give your horse a 30-minute break. Continue this for at least 24 hours.

Rehabilitation for Previous Injuries

If your horse has a rehabilitation plan for a previous injury, cryotherapy may recommended for daily 20-minute icing sessions. Along with reducing inflammation and pain, equine cryotherapy can help to increase the circulation and blood flow to the affected area which will help to repair the injury that your horse has experienced.

Preventing Future Injuries

Once your horse is ready to be active again, it may be a good idea to continue icing for 20 minutes daily in order to help prevent any reoccurrence of pain and swelling while your horse begins to use the injured limp again. Your vet may also recommend daily cold therapy as a preventive measure even if your horse has not experienced a previous injury.

What conditions can be treated with equine therapy?

Equine therapy in Ocala, FL, includes a range of therapies including cryotherapy. 

Cryotherapy can be used to treat acute injuries affecting the soft tissues, including fascia, muscle, tendon and/or ligaments.

If your horse has experienced a new injury, our equine vets recommend cold therapy for 20 minutes, allowing for 30-minute breaks in between each icing session. This treatment can be and should be used multiple times a day for the first 36 - 48 hours of the injury occurring. If being used for rehabilitation or as a preventive measure, 20 minutes, once daily is sufficient.

The only time that your vet may recommend icing your horse for a longer period of time would be if they are exhibiting the first signs of acute laminitis or founder. In these cases, your vet will likely perform continuous icing for the first few days to greatly reduce the chance of the damage making its way into the deep tissue.

The Facts About Equine Cold Therapy or Icing

Equine cryotherapy is a non-invasive and safe method of treating acute injuries. This makes it a popular choice, especially for sport horses. Some of the ways that cryotherapy benefits horses are:

  • Helping to reduce swelling, inflammation, pain, and muscle spasms. This is due to the low temperatures constricting blood flow.
  • The low cellular metabolism that occurs with the drop in temperature helps to prevent tissue death which in turn reduces pain and lowers the risk of re-injury.
  • The colder temperatures experienced with icing help stimulate your horse's nervous system which will help the heart return to a resting heart rate quicker.
The use of equine cryotherapy will ultimately help your horse recover quicker and with a reduced risk of injury compared to when it's not used. Speak with your vet to learn more about equine therapies offered in Ocala, FL.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding animals or professional advice regarding equine regulations. For the diagnosis of your animal's condition and help to navigate rules governing the care and transportation of equine animals, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your horse has suffered an injury, please contact Florida Equine Veterinary Associates. Our equine vets offer various equine therapies such as cryotherapy and equine acupuncture in Ocala.

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Florida Equine Veterinary Associates is passionate about the health of sport and performance horses. Get in touch today to book your equine athelete's first appointment.

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