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

Think the Saints cold chamber concept is only for players? Their horses use it too | by Allen Gutowski

By Katherine Terrell, | The Times-Picayune

For full article CLICK HERE

Louisiana Derby favorite Mo Tom had a trip "to the spa" on Monday morning. 

No, he didn't get his hooves painted. The 3-year-old colt, raced by New Orleans Saints owner Tom and his wife Gayle, is just one of many horses who now pass through the "Equine Spa" daily at the Fair Grounds.

It's a machine that slowly fills up with pulsating 34-degree saltwater once the horse is led in. The tub fills up to a horse's knees, and the moving water is designed to increase circulation, while the cold reduces inflammation.

In other words, it's an alternative version of cold therapy. The idea of cold treatment has been around as long as horse racing, whether trainers are wrapping a horse's legs in ice, soaking their legs in a cold bucket, or hosing them down with cold water. 

The cold saltwater spa is essentially a new way to use an old method. But cold therapy is something that reaches far beyond horses. It's a staple in every sport.

Horse racing, like the NFL, has a reputation for being reluctant or slow to embrace change. But these days, cutting edge technology seems more the norm than the exception.

Last summer, Benson purchased two cryotherapy chambers for the Saints and Pelicans. The chamber is a quick, three-minute version of a cold tub that uses -125 degree temperatures for recovery. It's an alternative method to the cold tub, which players often loathe but embrace at the same time.

The Saints took their chamber to training camp and used it often. While some players stick to the traditional cold cub, others swear by the quick and easy cryo chamber.

It's much the same way in horse racing, where the use of technology varies by trainer. Tom Amoss, who trains Mo Tom, likes the benefits of the apparatus on his horses.

Mo Tom is a regular client.

It was clear Mo Tom was used to it on Monday morning. While some horses don't like confined spaces, he stood fairly quietly, except to shake his head or stomp his feet in the water. 

Palmer Pedigo, the owner and operator of the machine, also performs the same services at Churchill Downs. Trainers essentially rent time on the machine from Pedigo, who is stationed behind the Fair Grounds barns from 5 a.m. daily during the duration of the meet.

Pedigo gets about 12-15 clients a day, from stakes horses to stable ponies.

Mo Tom is one of her more high profile clients.

And while she's usually there from sunrise to sunset, sometimes she's called in at an unusual hour. 

After a third place finish in the Risen Star last month, it was discovered that Mo Tom was bleeding from a cut on his leg. He had been practically pushed into the rail by a tiring horse and sustained the superficial cut in the process.

A cut might not seem like much, but in horse racing, any number of things could produce a setback that could knock a horse out of training. Horses pointing toward the Kentucky Derby must accumulate enough points toward entry into the 20-horse field. Miss enough training, and the horse won't make the race.

That night following the worrisome finish of the race, Palmer was called in to give Mo Tom an emergency session. 

He emerged none the worse for the wear the next morning and bounced back immediately. It was a sigh of relief for his connections. With a horse that's on the Triple Crown trail, every precaution is taken.

Benson just recently dipped back into the world of horse racing, a sport he was most heavily involved in during the 70s. Last year, the idea of getting back into the sport came up during his office at the Greenbrier. 

With Mo Tom, and Benson's other Louisiana Derby entrant Tom's Ready (trained by Dallas stewart), so far so good. Mo Tom has won two stakes races and is considered a surefire Kentucky Derby entrant if all goes well.

But with the Kentucky Derby still six weeks away, a lot of luck and a few new inventions will be used to help him get there.

Tom and Gayle Benson's 3-year-old colt Mo Tom, a leading contender for the Louisiana Derby, stands in the Equine Spa, which is used for cold therapy treatment in racehorses.   (Katherine Terrell, | The Times-Picayune)

Tom and Gayle Benson's 3-year-old colt Mo Tom, a leading contender for the Louisiana Derby, stands in the Equine Spa, which is used for cold therapy treatment in racehorses. (Katherine Terrell, | The Times-Picayune)

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

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.