Veterinary Practice

Rehabbing Restricted Equine Motion by Allen Gutowski

Check out the current issue of Modern Equine Vet for ECB Spa client Dr. Steve Adair's recommendations on rehabbing horses. Dr. Adair runs the University of Tennessee's Veterinary Teaching Hospital. CLICK HERE for the article. 

“The ECB Equine Spa is an integral part of our management of equine distal limb swelling resulting from wounds, tendonitis and lymphedema. It significantly reduces overall hospitalization time in these cases.”

— Dr. Steve Adair, III, MS, DVM, DACVS - Associate Professor of Equine Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville


In addition to the Equine Spa, ECB has installed their very first Aqua Treadmill in the USA at the new state-of-the-art Trifecta Equine Athletic Center in southern California!

Trifecta is the only full-service, veterinarian supervised, equine sports medicine, rehabilitation & conditioning center of its kind. It is ideally located just steps away from the San Luis Rey Downs Training Center & San Luis Rey Equine Hospital, and in close proximity to Santa Anita Racetrack, Los Alamitos Racetrack, Galway Downs, and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club & Racetrack. A place where innovative treatments are proven to enhance recovery from injuries, support post-operative care, as well as strengthen the cross-training methods of the equine athlete.

For more information, visit their website at the following link: Trifecta Equine

Petaluma horseman mounts life's challenges by Allen Gutowski

Our hearts go out to our client Ron Malone as he battles this terrible disease. We have been working with Ron and his staff at Circle Oak since 2010... he truly has built one of the finest equine rehab facilities on the west coast and one of the nicest people you will meet... this is a wonderful article about Ron and his passion for horses: CLICK HERE

Spa Treatment Results - Finish Line Farms by Allen Gutowski

This horse was injured in the pasture but exactly how was unknown to the owner. She was with other mares and no evidence of damage to any fences. But after a month of spa and doctoring she made remarkable progress toward recovery. Starting far left was the day she arrived, then 1 week, 2 weeks & 3 weeks of having a spa treatment every other day at Finish Line Farms.

Hassinger Equine Rehabilitation Offers ECB Spa Treatments by Allen Gutowski

Hassinger Equine Rehabilitation and Conditioning Center is a one-of-a-kind sports therapy and rehabilitation center located within a cutting-edge equine sports medicine and imaging hospital located in the "horse friendly" Sandhills of North Carolina. The performance center provides an integrative, team approach to rehabilitate injuries and achieve peak performance from each individual athlete. The center is equipped with the most modern, cutting-edge therapy and fitness equipment. Our "all-inclusive" horse care is administered by a staff of experienced industry professionals who are leaders in their respective fields. From our veterinary staff to our experienced riders, Hassinger Equine is "THE CHOICE" of industry professionals. 

CLICK HERE to visit their website.

10 Early Warning Signs of Laminitis by Allen Gutowski

~Your horse's best chance of overcoming this hoof disease might lie in your ability to catch it early~

It’s a painful condition that veterinarians, farriers, and horse owners have been racking their brains about for decades. Laminitis—the separation or failure of laminae, which connect the hoof wall to the coffin bone within—can cause permanent structural changes in a horse’s foot, leading to repeated bouts of disease and lasting lameness. In severe cases the pedal (coffin) bone in the hoof rotates downward, potentially even puncturing the sole and prompting the decision to euthanize. But get this: Watchful handlers can actually detect signs of laminitis in its early stages and intervene before the condition becomes debilitating.


    COLD SALT WATER HYDROTHERAPY - Flawborough Equine Rehabilitation by Allen Gutowski

    A great reminder of the benefits of Cold Saltwater Hydrotherapy from ECB Client Emma Hawthorne of Flawborough Equine Rehabilitation... 

    Emma Hawthorne - Proprietor and Treatment Manager at Flawborough Equine Rehabilitation Centre - explains that for centuries sea water has been used in the treatment of inflammation and injury in both humans and animals and horses are no exception.  In a safe and controlled manner, the Hydrotherapy Spa greatly intensifies the natural healing effects of cold running sea water. The Equine Spa uses jets of aerated chilled saline water to accelerate healing and repair over a range of injuries to the lower limbs: from tendon injuries to the most serious wounds. Its also used as an aid to the prevention of stiffness and to improve suppleness when used as part of a training regime. 

    What the Spa can be used for:

    Tendons and ligament injuries





    Jar up

    Joint problems

    Splints and certain fractures


    Infections and wounds to the lower limbs

    Post-operative complications

    Sore shins


    Mud fever

    Arthritic pain



    Common questions answered

    Q. Why is a Spa treatment more effective than cold hosing?  Spas work on the lower legs accelerating healing and repair due to a number of factors:

    Q. Temperature?  The water is kept at around 2 degrees which takes out heat and inflammation and increases the circulation of the affected area. Research shows that the Spa makes legs colder than any other treatment and is a very relaxing experience for an injured horse.

    Q. Salt Concentration?  The salts also act like a poultice, drawing out any infection and creating an additional cooling effect. The concentration is roughly double that found in the sea.

    Q. Pressure? The depth of water applies pressure to the injured area and gives support.

    Q. Aeration?  Aeration acts as massage encouraging circulation and healing. 

    Q. When would be the optimum time for hydrotherapy treatment?  Often it is a case of closing the door after the horse has bolted. Therefore the earlier we can start treating a case the better - this is beneficial to both horse and owner as it reduces the time-out.

     Q. Is the treatment costly?  Hydrotherapy Spa treatment is more affordable than you may think and is recognised by many insurance companies as an alternative treatment - when referred by a veterinary practitioner or registered farrier. We have a wide range of cost effective treatments but it is important to consider carefully each case in turn and put together a suitable rehabilitation programme.

    Veterinary surgeon, Matthew Barlow of Home Farm Equine, Nottinghamshire comments:The Spa is particularly useful in reducing acute inflammation in the early stages of tendon injury and greatly reduces healing time. It gets horses back in action faster and in many cases the horse does not require further treatment.

    At Flawborough, we use cold therapy as one of many tools of rehabilitation. Others include: heat, exercise, massage, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, magnetic fields and there are many more. Please contact us for further information or to arrange a visit:

    Flawborough Equine Rehabilitation Centre, Hall Farm, Flawborough, Nottinghamshire NG13 9PA  Telephone 01949 850332

    The Spa at The Spa - Burke Equine Therapy in Saratoga Springs by Allen Gutowski

    Burke Equine Therapy

    Many of the best race horses in the world, including Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, will attempt to add to their legacies at this month's Breeders Cup Championships, while others are simply trying to return to the race track. As Time Warner Cable News' Matt Hunter reports, a new facility in Saratoga Springs is helping them do that. Full article and video on TWC News.

    SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Like the rest of us who like to start our days with a little exercise, Dr. Stowe Burke leads a three-year-old racehorse into a specially designed treadmill early Monday morning.

    "We can adjust the speed," he said. "We find somewhere in the area between two to three miles per hour to be the most beneficial."

    The only one of its kind in the Northeast, the equipment, known as an Aqua Pacer, is by no means your average treadmill. It allows the horse to exercise partially underwater.

    "The idea here is we are giving him some buoyancy,” Burke said. “He's 60 percent buoyant, so he is not putting too much stress on that soft tissue."

    The runner, who's recovering from a soft-tissue injury suffered in training, has been under Burke’s care for the past several months. Last year, the longtime racetrack veterinarian left the back stretch to open Burke Equine Therapy.

    "Mostly people just turn horses out, which has varied comebacks,” said Burke, who could not identify the horse out of respect to its owner and trainer’s privacy. "Yes, sometimes time can heal all wounds, but sometimes it doesn't."

    Opened last year on his family's Saratoga Springs breeding farm, Burke's rehabilitation facility also features a salt-water spa that’s designed to reduce inflammation.

    "The horses tend to like it,” said Burke, who led the colt into the spa after its 15 minutes on the Aqua Pacer were up. “We only put them in for 10 minutes. The water is chilled to 35 degrees."

    His team also makes use of both dirt and turf galloping tracks for horses further along in their recovery.

    "We make sure here, whether the issue is orthopedic or soft tissue, to get them to a point where they are sound and they are ready to go back to the track," said Burke, 43, who used to gallop racehorses at Saratoga Race Course when he was younger.

    With room for between 16 and 22 horses at a time, Burke's clients include some of racing's top competitors, including Saratoga leading trainer Todd Pletcher.

    "As of the spring, 40 percent of the horses that went back to the track won,” said Burke, who’s dubbed his practice ‘The spa at The Spa.’ “That was awesome. We had four winners this summer at Saratoga."

    If all goes well, Burke expects the 3-year-old colt to return to training in about two months. The Spa City native says it is that chance to help runners reignite their career that drives him.

    "If you are going to get up at 4:30 in the morning, you have got to love what you do," he said.

    Burke Equine Therapy

    Reading Feet | Horse&Rider by Allen Gutowski

    Check out this great article on how to read your horse's feet from Horse&Rider magazine: Reading Feet

    Of course, we at ECB know that our Equine Spa is miraculous for treating all sorts of hoof injuries, including laminitis. It is also a wonderful preventive therapy to help keep your horses happy and healthy!


    Client Video - CWA Cambridge Equine Therapy Centre by Allen Gutowski

    This is Gus, a bright 14 year old Hanoverian x Arab who is currently receiving treatment for a hind leg suspensory injury. The vet has recommended a course of hydrotherapy treatments to support his recovery, so his owners will be bringing him to the Cambridge Equine Therapy Centre over the next couple of months in conjunction with veterinary monitoring. This was Gus' first time on the Hydrotherapy Spa and after acclimatisation he was relaxed and enjoyed the therapy. His owners were pleased with the improvement to the injured area.

    Cryotherapy to Prevent Acute Laminitis in Horses | Equinews by Allen Gutowski

    By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · August 12, 2014

    At the International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot held in 2013, A.W. van Eps from the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit in Australia presented information* on the use of therapeutic hypothermia, or cooling, to prevent the progression of laminitic changes in equine hooves.

    To be effective, cooling must take place early in the course of the disease, preferably before any signs of pain or discomfort are seen. This means that a horse can undergo therapeutic hypothermia based on a veterinarian’s opinion that the horse is at risk for laminitis because of another condition or situation. Because laminitis frequently follows enteritis, carbohydrate overload, colitis, and some other conditions, horses that are being treated for these situations are good candidates for prophylactic digital hypothermia, according to van Eps.

    Laminitis signs may be seen within hours of some events such as carbohydrate overload, while signs may appear as late as five days after colitis or enteritis and after an even longer span of time in horses with pleuropneumonia. For the best chance of avoiding laminitis, according to van Eps, horses should be kept in hypothermic therapy for a day or two after indications of illness related to the initial condition, such as fever and aberrant laboratory indicators, have returned to normal.  

    The speaker pointed out that cooling the hoof and pastern are not difficult, but for best results, the entire lower limb below the knee or hock should be immersed in a slurry of water and ice to cool inflowing arterial blood, which is extremely effective at keeping the inside of the hoof warm even when the outside of the hoof is chilled. This method is more effective in lowering hoof temperature than using gel boots or ice packs on the hoof. Therapeutic hypothermia has not been reported to cause serious problems in horses, reported van Eps, and occasional cases of pastern dermatitis related to the cooling therapy have resolved well with minimal or no long-term treatment.

    Laminitis is intensely painful in its acute phase and is difficult to treat once the disease progression has begun. Severe cases often result in euthanasia. Horse owners who suspect their horses may be at risk for laminitis from any cause should contact a veterinarian immediately to begin treatment or preventive therapy.

    *van Eps, A.W. 2013. Cryotherapy for laminitis: When and how? Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 33:878-879.

    S Bar S develop a mobile ECB spa in The USA by Allen Gutowski

    S Bar S Veterinary Service - Goes Mobile.....

    Dr. Kirk Shumbert of S Bar S Veterinary Service has developed a mobile spa based out of Shannon, MS in the USA. 
    After witnessing the full potential of the spa, Dr. Kirk realised that a lot of stables which have a need for a spa would not necessarily be able to have their own unit. Making the treatment mobile seemed the ideal way create a business and help the equine industry.

    The chilled water is contained in the spa which means once the trailer gets to its destination, horses can be treated immediately without having to wait for the water to be chilled to the right temperature.

    With the ability to spa 3 horses an hour everybody is happy - especially the horses! 

    Equine rehabilitation has been gaining increased interest by Allen Gutowski

    Rebuilding Athletes To Peak Performance

    Rehabilitating a horse after an injury features controlled exercise that promotes range of motion.


     Cold Leg Spa

    A cold saltwater spa for horses was developed in 1998 by Evan Hunt, MVSc, PhD, a retired professor at University of Sydney-Orange, Australia. Dr. Hunt had an interest in race horses and their injuries and worked to develop a way to better treat or prevent injuries. Now equine spas are sold in the U.S. and other countries.

    “The cold water leg spa is newer to the industry and meant to be used after a hard workout,” Grohl says. “This helps reduce inflammation and prevents future injuries. We use this at our facility and at races. The spa isn’t made to be mobile, but we found a way to transport it because there’s such a great need for it.”

    Although a great preventive tool, the cold saltwater spa can be used for many purposes.

    “The cold saltwater spa is terrific for any injury that has pain, heat, swelling/inflammation, or poor circulation due to damage or injury,” says Brenda McDuffee, general manager at The Sanctuary Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation Center in Ocala, Fla.

    “We treat many laminitic horses, soft tissue injuries and joint problems. The 35-degree water has 250 pounds of Epsom salt and regular salt in it. The salt water will cool the legs down even more than is possible with fresh water, so when the horse comes out of the spa his legs will stay cold up to three or four hours and the cold penetrates completely through the legs, much more so than cold hosing, cold wraps or standing in ice water can do.”

    Grohl says horses might stay at a rehabilitation facility for 60-120 days or longer depending on their  needs.

    “Environment plays a huge role in a successful rehab program,” Hager says. “If a horse is surrounded by horses jumping or running around, they tend to get excitable and are less likely to mentally adapt to a successful rehab experience. In a dedicated rehabilitation facility, the focus can be directed toward providing a relaxing and less stressful environment wherein the horse can undergo therapeutic and exercise programs directed at their specific injury/injuries without anxiety or excitement.”

    McDuffee says hyperbaric oxygen therapy and water treadmills are essential equipment for equine rehabilitation, but  smaller pieces of equipment such as therapeutic lasers, electro-magnetic pulse machines, ultrasounds and respirator machines are also an integral part of services.


    Horses use ECB Equine Cold Salt Hydrotherapy Spa by Allen Gutowski

    Watch a video overview of the ECB Equine Spa - see how it work! Cold Salt Hydrotherapy is used to treat and prevent a multitude of injuries in 35°F / 2°C saltwater.  The spa has successfully addressed virtually all lower leg injuries.  Treatment temperature alone induces a massive rush of blood and circulation which otherwise would not be present. This drug free therapy can be used for injury prevention and also to increase mobility and reduce swelling in the limbs before and after competitive events and training.

    Horses use ECB Equine cold salt hydrotherapy for prevention and treatment of leg injury

    Fantastic breakthrough for both Laminitis and the ECB Equine Spa by Allen Gutowski

    Study - Van Eps, A.W. and Pollitt, C.C. (2009) Equine Laminitis model: cryotherapy reduces the severity of lesions evaluated 7 days after experimental induction with oligofructose. Equine vet. J. 41, doi: 10.2746/042516409X042444953.   Read Study

    Aboubt Professor Chris Pollitt – BVSc (Massey) PhD (Qld):

    Chris Pollitt graduated Bachelor of Veterinary Science from Massey University, New Zealand in 1968 and was a practising veterinary surgeon in New Zealand, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland until commencing PhD studies in the Physiology Department of The University of Queensland.

    To generate a critical mass of research personnel Dr Pollitt, in 1996, created the Australian Equine Laminitis Research Unit, which has become internationally competitive having attracted, in the last 8 years, over $2 million in research funding.

    With the mission of "Elucidating the mechanism of laminitis to make laminitis a preventable disease" the unit has become an international focus of laminitis and equine foot biology research.

    Dr Pollitt has 61 publications in international peer-reviewed journals and 71 conference proceedings.

    In 2009 Professor Chris Pollitt's paper was published into the success of cryotherapy in treating laminitis. The results were conclusive and proved that cold water therapy effectively ameliorates the clinical signs and pathology of acute laminitis.

    A fantastic breakthrough for both Laminitis and the ECB Equine Spa.