Shock Wave Therapy Speeds Wound Healing
Dr. Scott McClure and colleagues from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University recently published a study on the effects of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) on wounds.
In their study, McClure and colleagues created a 4-cm and a 3-cm full-thickness wound on both front and rear cannon bones, respectively, of six healthy horses. The researchers treated one wound on each limb with ESWT, while the other limb was left as an untreated control. Researchers performed the ESWT weekly until they considered the wounds healed.
“While bacterial culture, area of epithelialization (skin growth), percent of wound contraction, and staining for growth factors were not different between the treated and untreated wounds, treated wounds had significantly shorter time for healing compared to the untreated wounds,” McClure said.
Specifically, wounds treated with ESWT took an average of 76 days to heal. Untreated wounds took an average of 90 days to heal.
While this study supports the use of ESWT for speeding wound healing, McClure suggested investigating the use of ESWT on dirtier wounds and on chronic wounds, as well as “the best times to perform ESWT, the best protocol to use, and whether ESWT should be combined with other therapies such as platelet-rich plasma or skin grafting.”
Hoof-Repair Composites and Other Modern Materials, AAEP 2008
Glue-on shoes and other materials are indicated for cases of poor hoof quality or repeated shoe loss, or for crack repair, rebuilding a hoof, and preventing wear, began Dr. Bryan Fraley of Veterinary Podiatry Associates in Harrodsburg, Ky., during the “Putting Science into Farriery” session at the 2008 Convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
He discussed the properties of various commercially available glues and tips for using them. Farriers are also using many synthetic fibers (such as fiberglass, Spectra fiber, Kevlar, polyester, and Vectran) to strengthen repairs further, he noted.
Shoes can be glued on directly or indirectly, Fraley explained. Glue is used just between the bottom of the foot and the shoe when gluing directly, while indirect gluing involves applying adhesive on tabs or cuffs around the outside of the hoof wall. Direct glue requires less shoe inventory, as you can use typical aluminum keg shoes, and the application is simple and atraumatic to the foot. However, he cautioned that applying glue to the bottom of the foot increases the risk of sealing in bacteria that can cause abscesses if care is not taken in foot preparation.
In comparison, indirect glue carries less risk of abscesses and doesn’t lock the heels in as much. Also, farriers can use pads more easily with this method. The downside is that the materials often used for tabbed or cuffed shoes can be tough to shape to the foot with traditional methods, and they require substantial amounts of glue that can be hard on the hoof in some environments.
Cataracts in Foals
Foals with congenital cataracts often show clinical signs very early in life, usually at 1 to 2 months of age. Owners will notice whiteness in the pupil of one eye almost immediately after birth, often followed closely in the other eye. Behaviors such as hesitancy to go anywhere without the mare or outright bumping into things can be indicators of visual problems in the foal. Otherwise, the foals are usually systemically healthy, and the eyes are not painful.
Congenital cataracts in newborn foals can be surgically removed, and the owner or manager should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible if he or she notices cataracts in a foal.
The surgical procedure is called phacoemulsification, which involves the same technology and equipment that’s used in human cataract surgery. Most foals spend about five to seven days in the hospital after surgery.
The most common postoperative problem is glaucoma. Cataract surgery will usually result in the horse’s being far-sighted (not able to see things up close as well as he sees things far away), but many horses go on to live productive lives after the procedure.