Horse tendon injuries are probably the most common reason why a horse is lame. If a veterinarian has determined a tendon injury and started the treatment, the rider / owner will have a lot of patience. Depending on the severity of the injury, but it is more often about months than weeks.
And in those months you can walk and cool, 1 to 2x per day. Usually going on with the result that you spend a lot of time with your horse, but do not get around to riding.
Pulsed Magnetic Field Therapy and Laser Therapy are 2 types of therapy that you as a rider / owner can apply yourself and which can significantly shorten the rehabilitation period.
But which therapy form is best to use?
Which therapy is best to choose depends partly on the injury and partly personal preference.
Both therapies have an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect and thus shorten recovery. Both ensure that the tissue that grows back at the place of damage looks very much like the original tendon tissue. The location of damage can often no longer be found in inspection scans. This means that the tendon is just as strong and flexible as before the injury and that the horse can return to its old level in sport.
But why do we choose one or the other for therapy.
The first consideration is the place of damage: The superficial tendons can be treated with both therapies. However, laser light has a limited penetration depth, so the deeper tendons, such as the intermediate tendon, are not quite suitable for laser therapy treatment. In addition, laser light does not penetrate the bones. That is why we prefer not to use the laser when it comes to adhesion problems. In those cases, we have a clear preference for pulsating magnetic field therapy.
The second consideration is time: magnetic field therapy is applied by putting a kind of pipe stocking on the leg and leaving it for half an hour. With laser therapy you hold a kind of shower head in your hand. This keeps you in one place for 30 seconds and then you move it a head width. You do this from the 3 sides from which you can reach the tendon. In total, a treatment will take about 10 minutes.
Laser therapy is therefore a shorter treatment where you are really busy yourself. A magnetic field therapy treatment takes a little longer, but you can do something else in the meantime.
The third point to consider is what the horse most readily accepts. The laser does not touch the horse. Magnetic field is put around the leg like a pipe stocking. For some horses, if they are not yet used to the legs, this can be difficult, especially when it comes to young animals or the hind leg.
Finally, the last point is the stage in the rehabilitation process. Laser therapy is usually only used in the first, acute (inflammatory) phase.
In addition to the anti-inflammatory mode, pulsating magnetic field therapy also has a mode in which blood flow is improved. The moment you are already a bit further in the rehabilitation process and there is already something to be driven, this position is used for work. By doing this, blood flow to the tendon is optimized before loading takes place. After work, the anti-inflammatory mode is then used again to calm the tendon. It is good to keep doing this until the horse is completely back to its old level. Many riders continue to use this as an extended warm-up, cool-down afterwards.
Whether you ultimately opt for laser or pulsating magnetic field therapy; Most importantly, both therapies can significantly shorten the recovery process, ensure optimal recovery, and give the rider / owner a sense that they can do more than just walk and cool.