Cold Hose Therapy for Horses
At one point or another, and probably on a more frequent basis than we would like, we will have to cold hose our horses because of an injury they have sustained. Cold hose therapy is the easiest, cheapest and quickest way to eliminate or minimize swelling resulting from injury.
Cold hose therapy remains one of the easiest ways to reduce inflammation in soft tissue. By using cold water on our horse’s injuries it causes the damaged blood cells at the injury site to constrict thus leaking less fluid into the tissues and causing the inflammation to reduce.
Inflammation is an obvious indication of injury and is necessary for healing. However, controlling the swelling immediately leads to less inflammation for the body to ‘clean up’ later.
Cold hose therapy is most important during the first 12-36hrs following the injury, when the swelling is still soft. When water from a hose is not cold enough to reduce the swelling, ice packs or another frozen product may be used. Be cautious when using ice though as it can have a negative effect if left directly on the skin for longer than 20min.
Usually your vet may recommend that ice therapy is used at least 4 times a day for a 10-20 minute duration with a minimum of 30 minutes between each session.
If the injury is on a lower limb, sometimes it is efficient to use a bucket filled with cool water and ice and allow the horse to stand with it’s hoof in the bucket. Of course this is not always possible and we have to used other methods. An icepack is very convenient and works great. Usually they are soft enough to wrap around the leg and be held there with a stable bandage for the duration of the cold therapy.
Now on the market there are convenient boots that are made to carry an ice pack making it very easy to use, also eliminating the freezing handler who has to stand there with a cold hose several times a day. It is very important to follow through with the therapy until there is little to no swelling.
Cold hosing or cold therapy is the fastest and easiest way to help heal and eliminate most minor injuries.