There are many different causes of inflammation in equines. One of the more notorious and deadly inflammatory ailments is laminitis.
Often, it is caused by ‘mechanical trauma’, i.e. repetitive physical activities.
Disciplines such as Eventing, Piaffe and Cross Country feature repetitive movements such as jumping obstacles and making tight turns across undulating terrain. This can lead to over-extension of ligaments & tendons which can have a negative impact on your horse’s body.
Over time these motions can provoke gradually worsening conditions or cause sudden injuries to occur. Eventing in particular features jumping at high speeds which puts a large amount of pressure on the Deep Digital Flexor Tendon, resulting in overstretching, which can cause the tendon to become chronically inflamed and thickened, a condition known as tendonitis.
Regardless of the age, occupation or discipline of a horse, laminitis is an exceptionally unwelcome diagnosis.
What is Laminitis?
Laminitis – inflammation of the lamina – is a disease that affects all members of the equine family.
The wall of the hoof is composed of a tough and insensitive outer layer, known as the horn, which is connected to and supported by the internal, sensitive layer known as the lamina.
Source: Horse Health Simplified
When a horse contracts laminitis, blood circulation to the lamina is affected. This results in an inflammation of the miniscule laminae tissue tendrils that connect the interior of the hoof wall to the exterior of the coffin bone, which causes the tissues to swell and extreme pain.
In this inflamed state it doesn’t take long for the laminae to begin to die due to lack of nutrient and oxygen-rich haemoglobin which further damages the cells.
There are numerous different factors that are known to increase the chances of a horse developing laminitis, however, horses and ponies that are overweight, and those who have already suffered bouts of laminitis are particularly vulnerable.
Trotting for extended periods of time on hard surfaces such as concrete or bitumen can have harmful effects on the laminae, particularly in horses that already have compromised hooves.
Traumatic laminitis is caused by repeated physical trauma to the feet during e.g. endurance riding or jumping on hard ground; it can also be caused by overenthusiastic hoof trimming. Severe lameness in one limb will cause a horse or pony to carry excessive weight on its other limbs, which may also cause laminitis.
A study published in the Equine Veterinary Journal has found that laminitis is just as common as colic with 1 in 10 horses/ponies developing a laminitis episode every year. This year-round threat is an extremely painful disease. If it is not treated quickly in the correct way it can result in permanent damage, causing 15% of UK equine deaths per year.1
Signs of Laminitis
Difficulty in turning
A short/stilted gait
Lameness at walk
Increased hoof temperature
Shifting weight from foot to foot
Reluctance to walk
Bounding digital pulse
Horse owners are encouraged to keep an eye on their horses. The earlier laminitis episodes are identified, the sooner you can employ measures to help your horse recover.
Treating Laminitis in Horses
The quicker you can diagnose the cause of your horse’s inflammation, the sooner you can address the issue and stop any further damage. If you see any changes in your horses’ gait or general behaviour, then we advise you to immediately ring your vet.
Early detection can save your horse’s life.
Steroid and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, commonly known as NSAIDs, operate within specific biochemical areas of the inflammation. Essentially, this means that although the drugs can help to stem the spread of inflammation, they may not completely eradicate it.2
Steroids are stronger than NSAIDs, and have a more potent effect, which is why one should be extremely cautious with their use.
What is Microcurrent Therapy?
Microcurrent Therapy is used to facilitate the recovery of a wide range of acute and chronic conditions that would benefit from reduced inflammation, pain reduction, tissue repair and accelerated healing.
Scientific research into Microcurrent Therapy has found that it facilitates the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is the energy providing molecule that is required for all metabolic cellular processes which are fundamental for facilitating pain management and the healing process.3
In essence, Microcurrent Therapy helps the cells produce ATP, which in turn, allows them to rapidly ‘regulate the inflammatory response,’ and consequently, the pain associated with laminitis.
What is the ArcEquine?
The ArcEquine is the smallest rechargeable wide-spectrum microcurrent device in the world. It’s a wearable, completely drug-free and non-invasive pain management and tissue repair system designed to assist with a multitude of equine conditions.
While the benefits of electrotherapy have been known about for over one hundred years, the technology to miniaturise these complex treatment protocols has only become available in recent years.
The ArcEquine is trusted by vets, equine chiropractors and physiotherapists.
“We started using Arc Equine 2 years ago as part of our tendon management protocols. Since then I have seen many cases with better than expected quality and speed of healing. Maybe even more important, in combination with active rehabilitation, there is significantly less scar development as well. I see Arc Equine as a very welcome technology in the management of our equine athletes.”
Henk Offereins DVM, MVSc, MRCVS Veterinary Director Equinetendon.com
Can You Cure Laminitis?
Although there is no permanent ‘cure’ to laminitis, Microcurrent Therapy has an outstanding track record of reducing inflammation. As a complete pain management and tissue repair system, the ArcEquine Device facilitates healing to the point where inflammation is reduced to pre-laminitic levels.
Many Arc Users have used Microcurrent Therapy to help their horses defy the odds and successfully overcome their laminitis.
As with any new cutting-edge treatment, there is a delay between the early-adopters and the treatment becoming main-stream, but the tide is turning and previous sceptics are now singing the praises of the ArcEquine. In fact, we are getting more and more feedback from Arc users about how impressed their vets were at the speed of natural recovery and the lack of scaring left after injuries.
1 Pollard et al. (2018) Incidence and clinical signs of owner reported equine laminitis in a cohort of horses and ponies in Great Britain. Equine Vet Journal. doi.org/10.1111/evj.13059
2 Michael Ball, DVM, Apr 1, 1999 | Article, Inflammation. The Horse
3 Watson T. Electrical Properties of Tissues. In: Watson T, editor. Electrotherapy: Evidence Based Practice. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone / Elsevier; 2008. p. 37-52.