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Equine Information

Is your horse reaching it's full potential?
 
How do I know if my horse might need treatment?
  • Pulling to one side/resistance to bend
  • Lameness
  • Inability to breathe deeply
  • Shortened stride length, uneven strides, toe dragging, stumbling, forging and uneven shoe wear
  • Holding tail to one side
  • Pelvis appears higher on one side
  • Head tilt
  • Cinching and head shyness
  • Hair or colour pattern changes
  • Signs of navicular disease or laminitis
  • Conformation problems
  • Refusal to jump/spin/pick up leads
  • Behaviour or mood changes
  • Tenderness under the saddle
  • Refusal to get too close to a fence
  • Chronic health problems that do not resolve as expected
  • Just doesn't feel/seem right
Consider Equine Chiropractic Care for the following:
  • Maintenance of joint and spinal health
  • Neck, leg, back and tail problems
  • Muscle spasm and nerve problems
  • Injuries from slips, falls, and accidents, no matter how long ago the injury happened
  • Jaw or TMJ problems-playing with the bit-difficulty in chewing or dropping food
  • Sport injuries
  • Bowel, bladder and internal medicine disorders
  • Post surgical care
  • To compensate for lack of experienced rider (i.e. with school horses)
  • To maintain the general well being and maximize the performance of your horse
In addition to the information on this site we also encourage you to visit www.animalchiropracticcare.com for additional information on Dr. Fleet and the care he provides for animals

Equine Chiropractic Article for Horse Annual

October 27, 2009 5:31 PM
Equine Chiropractic Article for Horse Annual
 
Echo is a ten-year-old Appaloosa mare hunter and dressage horse that was successfully treated with equine chiropractic after limited success using traditional veterinary medicine.  Showing considerable lameness after warming up for a show in October of 2004, she was nerve-blocked and fluoroscoped two weeks later. Results showed a bone spur on the outside of the coffin joint of her right foot.  A regime of glucosamine and MSM proved unsuccessful and she was started on an oral hylaronic acid in June of 2005, which helped considerably. Throughout the fall of 2005 she suffered intermittent lameness until December of 2005 when she again went dead lame. Her owner suspected that it may be something other than the right foot. Plain films and nerve blocks were performed, which confirmed her thoughts that it may have been a shoulder problem. A diagnosis of chronic bilateral bursitis was given with the right shoulder being worse than the left, possibly from a splaying of the legs after slipping in the field.  Injecting the bursa on the right shoulder brought soundness but also made it apparent that she was lame in the left shoulder. At this point the owner decided to give chiropractic a try and called my office.
 
When observing Echo during the initial examination it was apparent that she was in some discomfort by the way that she carried herself. Her head was slightly dropped and she carried it to the right. There was hypertrophy or muscle tightness in both shoulders especially visible on the right side, where the muscle was bunched just above the shoulder blade. She was also quite sensitive to touch in this area with palpation on the right side of the withers causing her to move away from the stimulus. She also exhibited soreness and poor range of motion in her left brachiocephalicus muscle, which runs along the left lower neck area down towards her sternum or breastbone. Palpation of the sternum exhibited concerned looks from the patient.
 
When lunging Echo it was quite apparent that she had trouble going to the left. She would start off gingerly with her head dropped and eventually warm up to look a little better but still not very good.  Lack of motion was found in the pole area on the right side and part way down her neck on the same side. Her scapula on the right side was pulled towards her withers, which helped explain the large muscle knots between the scapula and the withers. Both shoulder joints had moved forward and slightly down and her left knee was exhibiting restriction. As well there was restriction of the joints in the withers and in the right hip.
 
Injuries caused by slips and falls in the paddocks are quite common in horses. Unlike humans, horses have no bony connection in their shoulder joints but instead are held together by a sling of muscle. When a horse slips and a front leg splays out it can cause a stretching of one or all of the nerves that exit between the bones in the lower neck called the brachial plexus. This type of injury will cause the muscles in the area to go into spasm, the body’s defence mechanism against movement and further injury. Conventional forms of treatment, like injections, mask this response allowing the horse to move seemingly without pain, which can cause more long-term damage.
 
Echo was treated with chiropractic adjustments along with stretches recommended for therapy in between visits. After the first visit it was observed that the muscle bunching above the right shoulder blade was decreased in size and after a few visits no pain response was elicted with palpation. The tenderness in the brachiocepalicus muscle also improved and there was more range of motion in the front left shoulder and knee area. As well, palpation of the sternum eventually created no negative response at all.
 
Over the course of treatment, lunging to the left became easier when by the fourth visit it was observed that there was intermittent periods of smoothness. Stretching out when gaiting also was observed. After the second month a very good sign was reported when Echo felt well enough to jump the paddock fence. Treatment continued and by the end of June Echo was almost at 100%. Echo has been seen twice since that time for follow-up visits and as of our last visit in August she’s doing very well.
 
Echo was seen ten times between January 27th and August 10th. She continues to be seen periodically for maintenance visits.  Her treatment was successful in good part due to the diligence of her owner and her willingness to follow through with treatment recommendations and to implement the stretches and suggestions given to her.
As of the writing of this article Echo is getting back in shape her attitude has returned and she is jumping a little during training rides once a week. It is not know if she has jumped any more paddock fences.
 
With thanks to Nancy Hampson and Echo

IS YOUR HORSE PERFORMING THE WAY THAT IT’S SUPPOSED TO?

October 27, 2009 5:12 PM
Maybe there’s a solution that you never even considered…
 
MAYBE THE SOLUTION CAN BE FOUND WITH EQUINE CHIROPRACTIC
  • Many horses have been helped with chiropractic care when conventional veterinary treatment could offer no solutions.
  • Horses that are not able to compete, their owners fearing the worst are often back performing surprisingly quickly.
SO WHAT DO EQUINE CHIROPRACTORS DO?
  • Equine chiropractors apply the philosophy, art and science of chiropractic to animals.
  • Misalignments in the spinal column and extremities create imbalances in the nerves which affect a horse’s ability to be healthy
  • Dr. Fleet like all licensed equine chiropractors, has done extensive study on horse anatomy, neurology and physiology
WHY EQUINE CHIROPRACTIC?
  • Neck, leg, back and tail pain
  • Muscle spasms and nerve problems
  • Injuries from slip and falls and accidents
  • Jaw or TMJ problems or difficulty chewing
  • Events or sports injuries
  • Post surgical care
  • Bowel, bladder and internal medicine disorders
  • Maintenance of joint and spinal health
  • Healing/ helping with chronic internal medicine disorders
INDICATIONS FOR CHIROPRACTIC
  • Refusal to jump
  • Behavioral or mood changes
  • Bucking riders
  • Tenderness under the saddle
  • Head shyness
  • Cinchiness
  • Reluctance to pick up a lead
  • Lameness
  • Conformation problems
  • Hair pattern or colour pattern changes
  • Signs of navicular disease or laminitis
  • Pelvis appears higher on one side
  • Pulling to one side/resistance to turn to one side
  • Resistance to get too close to a fence
  • Shortened stride length
  • Chronic health problems that do not resolve as expected
HOW CHIROPRACTIC WORKS
  • The bones of the spine and joints are maintained in a specific alignment
  • The nerves which surround each joint and vertebra are in constant communication with the central nervous system, brain and organs
  • When even a subtle change in the alignment occurs, it is called a subluxation
  • Subluxations affect the nervous system, local muscles, joints and even distant organs, glands and body functions
WHAT IS EQUINE CHIROPRACTIC?
  • A chiropractic adjustment is a short lever, high velocity, controlled thrust by hand, directed at specific articulations to correct vertebral subluxations
  • It comprises the adjustment of vertebral joints and extremities
  • It includes evaluating patient’s history, intended use and prior health state
  • The exam includes neurological testing, stance and gait analysis and static and motion palpation

 

How To Determine If Your Standardbred Has Chronic Problems

October 27, 2009 4:40 PM
Many horses are retired from racing due to injuries sustained at various times throughout their careers that render them incapable of performing at the level that they need to, to continue to race. In the process of retiring the horse and a possible change in ownership, some of these injuries may not be properly addressed and later become chronic.  Due to the fact that these horses may be learning to do something entirely different than what they were originally trained for, it is sometimes difficult to determine which are problems caused by the demands of a new career and which may be the result of chronic injuries.
 
Probably the easiest way to determine if there might be a problem with a horse is through observation. Although no two horses look exactly the same, comparison can be done on the same horse from side to side. One thing to look for is whether the tail is consistently carried to one side, which may be indicative of a problem in the sacrum or tailbone.
 
The two bumps at the top of the horse’s croup should be even in height.  Unevenness in this area can be indicative of hip rotation and be may be causing pain in the low back area. The shoulder blades should look even and be of the same height. 
 
When standing in front of the horse look at the hooves to see if one might be toeing out. The knees should also be even and not bowing or swollen. From this angle you can also observe the way the head is carried to see that it is not carried to one side or constantly dropped. The jaw should also be even. Lift up the horse’s top lip and see if the teeth come together evenly and the upper jaw is in line with the lower one.
 
When observing the horse from the side it is important to see how the horse stands while at rest. Does it constantly stand on one leg? Does it have a sway back or no top line? Does it have a roachy back where it tucks its’ hind end under itself? All these can be indicative of a chronic injury that has created compensations somewhere in the horse’s skeletal structure.
 
Other indicators of chronic dysfunction that can be seen through observation are hair pattern changes and temperature changes on the horse’s coat. These are indicative of organic changes that are affecting the horse and usually are not seen until the later stages of an injury. Muscle atrophy is something that is only seen in a chronic condition. This is characterized by a small or flaccid and weak muscle mass that may contain hard nodules that can often be felt when grooming. These nodules are scar tissue that is deposited in the muscle from the body’s inability to remove waste products from the injury site.
 
When saddling the horse up look for any extreme reactions when tightening the cinch, such as flinching or trying to move away from you. These reactions can indicate a problem in the rib area or stomach muscles of the horse. The horse should also take the bit comfortably and not drop it or try to move away from it. Jaw problems are particularly painful because of the large number of nerve endings in the area. Dropping food is also a sign that there may be a problem.
 
Careful observation is an effective tool for determining if a horse may have a chronic problem. If undetected these problems may severely limit the horse’s ability to have a second career off the track.
 
Harbourview Family Chiropractic
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