Alternative Therapies for the Horse
- By Michael Albert
It is not uncommon that trends in veterinary medicine
tend to mirror trends in human medicine. To that end,
it's not surprising that alternative medicine is
being used more frequently on sick and injured
horses. Instead of prescribing the latest wonder
drug, some veterinarians are instead prescribing a
little hands-on healing in the hopes that less
invasive techniques will bring about a return to
health. In this article, we'll examine two
alternative healing practices that are becoming very
popular in the horse world: chiropractic and massage.
Equine chiropractors traditionally deal with
"subluxations" of the vertebrae. Defined,
subluxations are incomplete or partial dislocations
of the vertebrae; in other words, vertebrae that are
out of alignment. These misalignments can not only
cause the horse pain in his back, but can also cause
soft tissue damage around the area of the spine. And
since the spine is said to be the conduit to the
central nervous system, subluxations may possibly
change neurological function of the spinal cord, the
spinal nerve roots, and portions of the nervous
system. The equine chiropractor adjusts these
subluxationsin plain speaking he put the spine
back into alignmentand returns the horse to
What conditions does chiropractic treat?
Chiropractic is used to treat back and neck pain in
the horse, as well as nerve damage. It can also be
used to diagnose and come up with a treatment plan
for certain lamenesses. Some people even use
chiropractic during prepurchase exams to determine
whether the horse has any neck or back injuries.
How is chiropractic administered to horses?
Like a vet exam, the chiropractic exam begins with a
case history. Posture analysis, gait analysis, static
palpation, motion palpation, orthopedic exam, and a
neurological exam follow. Based upon his or her
findings, the vertebra is then manipulated during the
adjustment by the practitioner.
How much does a chiropractic treatment cost?
A chiropractic exam and adjustment cost approximately
$50-75, depending upon the extent of the problem and
the length of the session.
Are there any risks?
Some believe that in the wrong hands, chiropractic
can cause back and neck pain, lameness problems, and
spinal cord injury. The equine chiropractor must have
strong knowledge of equine vertebral anatomy,
including vertebral joint relationships, the
relationship of neural components, muscle attachments
and nerve supply, and normal and abnormal range of
During a massage, the soft tissues of the body are
worked by experienced hands and fingers. As any human
who has been the recipient of one knows, massage
stimulates acupuncture points and relieves tension.
Myofascial release therapy, in which the fascia that
connect and surround the muscles are manipulated, and
myotherapy, a method of relaxing muscle spasm,
improving circulation, and alleviating pain, are two
of the most common types of equine massage therapy.
What conditions does massage treat?
Massage can really help sore muscles and tendons. It
is frequently used to repair damaged muscle fiber,
such as contracted tendons, ligament and muscle
strains, chronic inflammatory conditions, peripheral
nerve injuries, scar tissue, and chronic edema.
How is massage administered to the horse?
The soft tissues of the body are worked by the hands
and fingers. The strokes are generally performed in
the direction in which blood flows, which is toward
How much does equine massage cost?
A massage costs between $25 and $75, depending upon
What are the risks?
If your horse has acute inflammatory processes of the
skin, soft tissue, bone and joints, fractures,
sprains, circulatory disorders, presence or danger of
hemorrhage, lyphangitis, and tumors, then massage
should be avoided.
Michael Albert is an expert by profession but he is
also writing articles on horses, stallion, and
trailors for a long time. He has done his research
work in the same field within the organization of
Horse Chit Chat. To know more about horse chit chat, horses, horse trailers, horse forum,
equine forum, horse articles visit Horse chit chat.
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