Here at Westlands farm we are proud to introduce our equine hydrotherapy spa. We installed this facility back summer 2009 and have used it on a daily basis for the soundness and well being of our own competition horses and breeding stallions. We have had horses visit the hydrotherapy for various injuries from ligament damage to open wounds and it is fantastic for mud fever.
We have now opened this facility to the public for your general well being of your horse or if your horse has an injury.
How Hydrotherapy Works
Salt water is chilled within the spa and held at a constant temperature between 2 and 4degrees. 12 air jets create a powerful stream of bubbles much the same as in a conventional spa.
- This benefits the healing process in four ways:-
The very cold water reduces cellular metabolism thereby placing less demand and strain on the circulatory system for oxygen and nutrients. Blood vessel walls are less permeable reducing the amount of fluid accumulating at the sight of injury and the numbing effect of the cold water acts as a topical analgesic. When the horse leaves the spa the rapid temperature change from the cold water to normal room temperature triggers a surge of fresh nutrient oxygen rich blood to the area.
- Salt concentration
The salt water acts like a poultice helping to cleanse wounds and draw out infection. Additionally, its salt concentration has been found to influence how effectively a wound is healed.
- Depth of water
The greater the depth of water, the greater the pressure applied to the swelling and the more effective the fluid dispersal.
Increased dissolved oxygen has been shown to speed healing. The massaging effect relaxes the horse reducing heart rate and therefore stress. When a tendon injury is suspected it is vital that swelling is reduced so that accurate scanning and diagnosis by a veterinary surgeon can take place. What may start as a bruise or strain to collagen fibres can deteriorate rapidly due to the effects of the enzyme collagenase. The action of this enzyme is reduced by the cold temperature of the hydrotherapy spa improving the prognosis. Where swelling is allowed to persist during the healing process new collagen fibres form cross links rather than in alignment. This new tissue is weak and prone to re-injury, a constant source of anxiety when bringing horses back into training. Hydrotherapy has been shown to resolve tendon injuries not just more quickly but with better tissue type. Amazing results have been achieved in the healing of severe flesh wounds and the production of proud flesh often associated with lower leg injuries due to the poor blood supply is dramatically reduced.