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Bowed Tendon

Holly is a Canadian Thoroughbred who competes as an intermediate three-day Eventer. During the steeplechase phase of a three day event, Holly “bowed” her tendon. She came into the 10-minute box with a very enlarged distal limb and was grade 4/5 lame (noticeable head bob and shortening of stride). She was taken to The Equine Center, San Luis Obispo, for evaluation.

The leg was hot and painful to palpation with enlargement of the flexor tendons. An ultrasound exam revealed a severe “bow” of the superficial digital flexor tendon (grade 4 with enlargement of the fiber pattern resulting in a core lesion). Holly was immediately prescribed phenylbutazone (bute) to ease the pain and decrease the inflammation. Adjunct therapy involved the application the Game Ready™ Equine cold and compression system for 30-minute treatments every 2 hours for the first 24 hours.

Swelling in the limb causes congestion and impaired circulation which retard the healing process. Because the Game Ready System provides both cold and compression, it plays a vital role in reducing inflammation. The compression provided by Game Ready acts to decrease the edema or swelling of the limb and improve circulation. The cold therapy acts to decrease sensitivity and reduce pain in addition to causing vasoconstriction — thus decreasing inflammation.

After four days of therapy, utilizing bute and Game Ready, Holly’s leg showed impressive improvement and was ready for surgical splitting of the tendon. Post-operatively, Game Ready therapy continued to aid in healing and — because the system is a dry cold application — treatment could be reinstated immediately following surgery. After six weeks, Holly is starting rehabilitation with hand walking, soon to be followed by walking under saddle. She has a good prognosis to return to her career due to diligent and aggressive combined therapy and surgical intervention.

Hock Injury

A 9-year-old Quarter Horse mare used for barrel racing was presented to the hospital for colic. After treating the mare for colic, I was asked to evaluate her left hock. There was a moderate effusion of the left tarsocrural joint. The horse first developed left hind limb lameness approximately four weeks prior. Her lameness was not evaluated at this time, but synovial fluid was sent to the lab for evaluation. The joint fluid analysis returned with normal parameters. Seven days later the mare returned for a lameness exam. The mare was 1/5 lame trotting to the left. Flexion of the left hock produced a 4/5 lameness. Radiographs did not reveal any significant abnormalities.

The tarsocrural joint was injected with one vile of hylovet and 3 mg of vetalog. Due to the lack of improvement and because the lameness was becoming worse, the owner elected to take the mare to Oakridge Equine Hospital in Edmond, Oklahoma, for Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

The MRI revealed sub condylar bone damage to the medial trochlea of the left hock, desmitis of the long and short medial collateral ligaments of the tarsus, and effusion in the tarsocrural joint.

The horse returned for rehabilitation. After returning, both the hock swelling and the lameness became worse.

The Game Ready™ Equine System was sent home with the owner to treat the hock two times a day for 14 days for 30 minutes per treatment. The mare was 4/5 lame at a walk with severe swelling of the left hock. The swelling was articular and para-articular. The owner observed progressive improvement on a daily basis up to day 10. At day 10, the swelling had subsided over 50% and lameness had improved to 2/5 lameness. From day 10 through day 14 no significant improvement was observed.

The owner was very pleased with the results the Game Ready Equine System provided and is interested in trying it again when the new hock sleeve is ready for use.

DeRoy White, D.V.M.
Sapulpa Veterinary Hospital

Chronic Lameness

A 25-year-old retired Cutting Horse gelding was presented to the hospital for acute right forelimb lameness.

Upon arrival, the horse was 3/5 lame at a walk with significant right front fetlock synovial effusion. The horse was 5/5 lame upon fetlock flexion. Radiographs revealed a short, incomplete, non-displaced medial condylar fracture of the distal palmar metacarpal bone.

The owners elected conservative treatment. Due to the horse’s age and past medical history, surgery and/or general anesthesia was not an option. The owner took the horse home with anti-inflammatories, support bandage, and stall confinement. After five days, the horse became 5/5 lame and was brought back to the hospital. The owners elected to have the horse treated for 30 minutes, twice a day for five days with the Game Ready™ Equine System. After each treatment a Kimzey splint was applied. During the treatment the horse would lower his heel to the ground and stand normally. After the fifth day, the fetlock swelling had subsided approximately 70%. The horse was using the Kimzey splint to walk.

The horse went home with the Kimzey splint. After 30 days the splint was removed. The horse was 3/5 lame at the walk with only a small amount of synovial effusion in the fetlock joint. His owners will keep heavy support wraps on for 30 more days and 60 days of stall confinement.

The Game Ready Equine System was tremendously beneficial in reducing the inflammation and pain. By continuing this treatment it allowed the horse to use the Kimzey splint to move around while the condylar fracture continued to heal.

DeRoy White, D.V.M.
Sapulpa Veterinary Hospital

Preventative Maintenance

Our equine athletes compete in a diverse range of activities, each requiring a combination of strength and conditioning resulting in appropriate physical fitness for the specified task. For optimal performance, equine athletes need proper nutrition, balanced training, careful monitoring, and rigorous supportive care. A balanced exercise program to strengthen bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments is paramount. Too little stress does not result in adequate conditioning. Too much stress causes overloading which results in breakdown of tissues.

Even with proper training, tissues are stressed and minor damage occurs resulting in inflammations. Daily palpation of limbs prior to and post exercise can help evaluate any areas which may be over stressed. However, not all minor tissue damage is easily detected. Tissue injury also results in the release of inflammatory mediators which cause “leakiness” in vessels thus resulting in edema. By minimizing inflammation from minor tissue damage we can help to prevent potential injuries. Applying the concept of decreasing inflammation through cold and compression with the Game Ready™ Equine System, we can help prevent injuries in our equine athletes.

With Game Ready’s cyclical compression, edema is effectively decreased. Game Ready’s cold therapy also helps limit the inflammatory response through vasoconstriction. Use of the Game Ready Equine System after daily workouts is simple, clean, and effective in helping our equine athletes reach their full potential.

Dr. Hilda Baisel Pioneer Clinic, CA

Suspensory Desmitis Lameness

A Quarter Horse gelding competing in Western Riding at the 2005 AQHA World Show developed an acute lameness of the right front limb with pronounced pain of the suspensory ligament origin below the palmar aspect of the right carpus. This pain was associated with a noticeably shortened stride and a reluctance to change leads to the right.

Multiple 30-minute Game Ready™ Equine treatments per day were used each of the five days leading up to his event, with significant improvement noted each day. The horse competed in the preliminary event and made the finals. The finals were held two days after the prelims and the horse performed exceptionally well, which was up to its potential.

The cold and compression therapy Game Ready Equine provides made a significant difference in the rate of healing and comfort level of an otherwise crippling condition of the horse’s proximal suspensory ligament.

Game Ready’s unique combination of closely controlled cold treatment with intermittent air-driven compression is an innovative and remarkably effective way to reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling from an injury or inflammatory condition of a horse’s leg.

The treatment is well tolerated by the horse and can be combined with any number of treatment methods, including pre and post surgery, since it is delivered in a dry application.

G. David McCarroll, D.V.M., Diplomate A.C.V.I.M.
Interstate Equine Services, Inc.