Wellington Equine uses a combination of therapies to treat your horse in the most comprehensive way possible. Depending on your horse’s specific issues, we incorporate the following treatments:

  • Joint Therapies
  • Ultrasound-guided Injections Regenerative Therapies
  • Navicular Therapies
  • Acupuncture
  • Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)
  • Spinal Manipulation

There have been some exciting new developments in the treatment of navicular syndrome. “Navicular Syndrome” traditionally refers to pain in the caudal (back) half of the foot. An accurate diagnosis requires nerve blocks, high quality X-rays, ultrasound and sometimes MRI. MRI can diagnose navicular bone edema, but most other structures can be evaluated with a combination of X-ray and ultrasound.

The following structures can be invoved in a horse showing symptoms of “navicular syndrome”:

  • Navicular bone
  • Navicular bursa
  • Coffin joint
  • Deep digital flexor tendon
  • Impar ligament
  • Collateral sesamoidean ligaments (of the navicular bone)
  • Distal digital annular ligament
  • Collateral ligaments of the coffin joint

The success of treatment is dependent on the accuracy of the diagnosis. X-rays provide information on the bony structures, while ultrasound guides treatment by detecting tendon and ligament injuries, differentiating between effusion (excess fluid) in the coffin joint and navicular bursa and evaluating the flexor surface of the navicular bone.

Treatments include corrective shoeing changes, rehabilitation for tendon or ligament injuries, coffin joint or navicular bursal injections (where indicated) and the new “bisphosphonate” medications. The drugs TildrenTM and OsPhosTM   are bisphosphonates that are approved to control clinical signs associated with navicular syndrome. They may be indicated if your horse has problems involving the navicular bone.

Regenerative therapies are based on using your horse’s innate healing mechanisms. These therapies involve drawing blood or taking a tissue sample from your horse. The blood or tissue is processed to concentrate the natural healing factors in the body and then are reinjected into the injured area to promote healing.

PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)
With PRP therapy, platelets (blood cells that are involved in clotting) are isolated and concentrated from your horse’s blood stall side with no wait time involved. Platelet derived growth factors decrease inflammation, stimulate cell regeneration and reduce scar tissue formation. It is commonly used in tendon and ligament injuries. Recent studies have shown that it is effective in reducing inflammation in joints as well

IRAP ™ Therapy – (Interleukin-1 Receptor Agonist Protein Therapy)
This cutting edge technology can be an effective alternative to traditional corticosteroid treatment for osteoarthritis. The IRAP protein, which is naturally present in the body, is collected from the patient’s blood, concentrated and then reinjected into the affected joint. IRAP stops inflammation at its source and may provide longer-term effects than traditional treatments. IRAP therapy has also been used in tendon and ligament injuries.

Stem Cell Therapy
This innovative therapy involves using stem cells from the fat or bone marrow of your horse. These cells aid in the healing of tendon and ligament injuries by enhancing tissue regeneration.

As a treatment, protocols that utilize acupuncture can be used to aid medical and lameness issues, enhance performance, improve general wellness, and maintain the overall balance of the equine athlete.

Acupuncture reduces pain and inflammation by stimulating the nervous system along the energy flow pathways to release naturally occurring analgesic ‘endorphins’. Acupuncture can work at the local level (direct pain relief) or indirectly (along the energy pathways to the brain). It has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of back, stifle and hock pain, foot pain, arthritis and soft tissue issues. It may also be helpful in the treatment of nonsurgical colic, poor appetite, COPD, immune issues, anxiety, skin and eye problems, to name a few.

Acupuncture is effective in helping sport horses perform at their best without using prohibited medications (FEI) or other therapies prior to competition.

Ultrasound-guided injection of the sacroiliac joint

Ultrasound-guided injections allow precise localized treatment of an injured or inflamed area. With ultrasound, the tip of the needle can be directly visualized, ensuring that the product is being delivered to the exact location that is being treated.

Areas effectively and safely treated with ultrasound-guided injections include:

  • Cervical facet joints in the neck
  • Sacroiliac, lumbosacral or facet joints in the back
  • Stifle joints
  • Hip joints
  • Navicular bursa
  • Tendon or ligament injuries.

Equine athletes place tremendous strain on their joints. Inflamed and painful joints can cause problems before obvious lameness issues develop. Lameness causes the horse to alter his movement patterns, which can result in compensatory injuries. In performance horses, the first sign of pain may be “training issues” such as reluctance to change leads, collect or turn around a barrel.


Intra-articular Therapy (Joint Injections)

Symptoms of an inflamed joint may include increased synovial fluid, a positive response to palpation and flexion, mild lameness or decreased performance. An accurate diagnosis is essential for effective treatment. Only joints that have problems should be treated with intra-articular injections and response to therapy should always be assessed.

Targeted intra-articular therapy is the most effective way to treat an inflamed joint. The goals of this therapy are to:

  • Reduce inflammation in the joint and decrease harmful inflammatory mediators that can damage the articular cartilage.
  • Return the horse to pain-free performance.
  • Help prevent altered movement caused by joint pain.


Parenteral Therapies (IV or IM)

Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) affects horses of all breeds and disciplines. AdequanTM and LegendTM are FDA approved products that have been shown to be disease modifying osteoarthritis drugs (DMOADs). They have a role in protecting your horse’s joint health by inhibiting structural disease progression. They have clinical research behind them showing both safety and efficacy for their intended use.


Oral Therapies

Joint supplements may have a role in maintaining joint health. It is important to use a product manufactured in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) to ensure potency of the product. It is also advisable to use a product supported by clinical research, as there is no regulation of oral supplements.

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) is a type of electrotherapy available for use in equine rehabilitation. FES produces smooth contraction and relaxation of superficial and deep muscle groups, mimicking normal muscle contraction and relaxation.

FES is effective in reducing muscle spasms, strengthening muscle, stimulating deep muscle tissue and improving range of motion. It is effective in treating muscle atrophy, spasm or stiffness in the neck, back, sacroiliac and other areas. It is complementary to other therapies and is an integral treatment for the “whole horse”.

Conditions that may benefit from an FES treatment protocol include:

  • Neck stiffness
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Kissing Spines
  • Sacroiliac or lumbosacral dysfunction
  • Back pain and stiffness

  • Please call or email us directly at 561.762.6111 or info@wellingtonequinesportsmedicine.com