TitleInternational Survey Regarding the Use of Rehabilitation Modalities in Horses.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsWilson, JM, McKenzie, EC, Duesterdieck-Zellmer, KF
JournalFront Vet Sci
Date Published2018

To define which biologic, electrophysical and other modalities are used in horses for injury or performance issues, a questionnaire regarding 38 modalities was distributed to eight veterinary groups. A total of 305 complete or partial responses were obtained from over 10 geographic regions; 75.4% from private equine practice or regional private equine referral hospitals, 14.1% from university teaching hospitals or satellite clinics, 8.2% from private mixed animal practice, and 2.3% from veterinary rehabilitation centers. The majority of respondents were located in the USA (60%), Europe (25.6%), and Canada (5.6%). Respondents reported working with athletic horses primarily in the disciplines of hunter-jumper (26.9%), dressage (16.0%), and pleasure riding (14.7%), followed by Western riding, track racing, and eventing. Warmbloods (39.7%) were the predominant breed presenting to respondents, followed by Thoroughbreds (20.3%) and Quarter Horses (17.3%) ahead of other breeds. All 38 modalities were used by respondents. The 10 most prominently utilized were controlled hand walking (97.3%), therapeutic shoeing (96.1%), ice (95.2%), compression bandaging (89.5%), platelet rich plasma (PRP; 86.5%), therapeutic exercises (84.3%), interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein therapy (IRAP; 81.4%), stretching (83.3%), and cold water hydrotherapy (82.9%). Heat (77.6%), massage (69.0%), and acupuncture (68.3%) were also commonly utilized. The least prominently used modalities were hyperbaric oxygen therapy (9.4%), cytowave (8.3%), and radiofrequency (6.4%). Injectable modalities (IRAP, PRP, mesotherapy, stem cells) were almost solely administered by veterinarians; other modalities were variably applied by veterinarians, technicians, veterinary assistants, farriers, physical therapists, trainers, and other entities. A total of 33% of respondents reported working collaboratively with physical therapists on equine patients. Findings indicate that a broad range of invasive and non-invasive modalities are used in equine patients to address a variety of rehabilitation and performance needs, and that personnel with varying levels of expertise are involved in their administration. This suggests that further investigation to better define the delivery, efficacy and any negative effects of many of these modalities is important.

Alternate JournalFront Vet Sci
PubMed ID29942811
PubMed Central IDPMC6004390