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Part 3: Treatment Strategies - Pain Management

Pain management can be complex, and it is important to be guided by your veterinarian. In Part 3 of our series on pain we look at the treatment strategies your vet could consider.

When your vet decides on a course of treatment for your horse, they will be considering the following:

  1. the source and of pain
  2. the severity of pain
  3. the individual horse’s temperament and job i.e. is the horse in competition or a paddock mate
  4. your compliance and ability to treat as an owner

The aim in the treatment of pain is to provide analgesia, to reduce inflammation and ultimately stop the source of discomfort.

Typical treatment strategies from basic first aid to more intensive interventions could possibly include:

  1. Physiotherapy Techniques such as

    1. Cold hosing and ice therapy
    2. Bandaging to provide pressure, support and mobilization
    3. Application of topical anti-inflammatories
    4. Corrective shoeing
    5. Hydrotherapy
  2. Management Programme

    1. REST (tincture of time)
    2. Graded exercise
  3. Medicines

    1. Non Steriodal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) e.g. Phenylbutazone or Meloxicam
    2. Corticosteroid Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (cortisones)
  4. Surgery

    1. Standing
    2. Full general anaesthesia
    3. Joint injections
  5. Nutraceuticals and Herbs

    1. Green-lipped muscle extract
    2. Willow
    3. Slippery Elm
    4. Sodium hyaluronate
    5. Polysulphated glycosaminoglycan
  6. Other Therapies

    1. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT)
    2. IRAP (interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein)
  7. Complementary Therapies

    1. Acupuncture
    2. Chiropractic

About the author

Dr Leigh Davidson BVSc, BApplSc

Director at Your Vet Online

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