Physiotherapy is a science based profession aimed at optimising performance, reducing the risk of injury or facilitating the recovery of your horse following an injury.
ACPAT Veterinary Physiotherapists can treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions, enabling horses of all disciplines to reach their full potential. Any horse can benefit from receiving physiotherapy whether they are injured or not and many clients opt to have regular maintenance sessions in order to prevent injury.
Our physiotherapist, Daisy is qualified as both a human physiotherapist and a veterinary physiotherapist and registered with Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy (ACPAT). She continues to treat humans alongside horses, enabling her to continue her professional development, ensuring she remains up to date with all recent advances within the physiotherapy profession.
What can I expect from a physiotherapy assessment?
Prior to treating your horse, full consent will be obtained from your veterinary surgeon. At Fellowes Farm Equine Clinic we are in a unique position having our Physiotherapist based on site. This enables the close collaboration and communication between our physiotherapist and the referring veterinary surgeon to ensure a full history has been obtained prior to seeing your horse. However, further information may be required to ascertain performance issues, behavioural changes, ridden problems and the history behind each of these traits.
Your horse will first be looked at standing square to allow the physiotherapist to evaluate conformation and look at how your horse is muscled. Particular attention will be paid to the spinal column and where the saddle is positioned to establish whether there is a correlation between asymmetrical muscling and tack. Your horse will then be subjected to a dynamic evaluation, looking at your horse move in straight lines at walk and trot then progressing to circles (if indicated). You may also be asked to ride as part of the assessment as this will allow the physiotherapist to establish if rider position correlates with the assessment findings.
Following this assessment your horse will then be palpated thoroughly to establish the presence of pain, swelling or restriction in mobility of joints and tissues. This will allow the physiotherapist to determine the most appropriate course of treatment for your horse.
What treatments do physiotherapists use?
ACPAT Veterinary Physiotherapists are experts in mobilising soft tissues, joints, ligaments and tendons to provide pain relief, improve mobility and restore normal function. They may use a combination of techniques which include soft tissue massage and manipulation, joint mobilisation and manipulation, myofascial release and trigger point release.
A variety of electrophysical agents may also be utilised to facilitate healing, improve mobility and thereby reduce pain, in conjunction with manual therapeutic techniques. These may include laser, transcutaneous electrical stimulation, ultrasound and neuromuscular electrical stimulation.
Many horses will also require a prescribed, individualised exercise programme to further assist in their rehabilitation and management. This can consist of baited stretches, pole exercises, lunge or long reining work to encourage abdominal activation and strengthen muscles appropriately through specifically targeted exercises.