EQUUS - - Eq Medicalfro­nt -

that (WBV) a sig­nif­i­cant Two whole ther­apy new body stud­ies ef­fect may vi­bra­tion on not sug­gest lame- have ness, but it can help horses re­lax and en­cour­age their hooves to grow more quickly. WBV in­volves stand­ing the horse on a sturdy metal plate that can be set to vi­brate at var­i­ous fre­quen­cies. The vi­bra­tions are be­lieved to im­prove cir­cu­la­tion, which can stim­u­late heal­ing, while also hav­ing a warm-up-like ef­fect on the soft tis­sues, which may help pre­vent in­jury and im­prove per­for­mance. WBV has been used in hu­man re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion for more than a decade, but vi­bra­tion plates for horses have only re­cently be­come avail­able. In a study con­ducted at Michi­gan State Univer­sity, vet­eri­nar­i­ans who spe­cial­ize in sports medicine ex­am­ined six horses hav­ing known or sus­pected gait deficits. Each horse was as­signed an ini­tial lame­ness score and given flex­ion tests and range of mo­tion eval­u­a­tions in the car­pus (knee), hock and fet­lock joints. In ad­di­tion, the av­er­age length of stride was mea­sured at the walk and trot. The group was then di­vided into pairs based on these find­ings. In each pair,

one horse was treated with WBV, stand­ing on a plat­form that vi­brated at 50 Hz for 30 min­utes at a time, five days a week for three weeks, while the other stood on an ad­ja­cent plat­form that did not vi­brate on the same sched­ule to serve as the con­trol. At the end of the study pe­riod, the same vet­eri­nar­i­ans---who did not know which horses had been treated and which were con­trols---per­formed fol­low-up eval­u­a­tions to score lame­ness, check range of mo­tion, and mea­sure stride lengths. When the data from the pre- and post-treat­ment ex­ams were com­pared, the re­searchers found no dif­fer­ence in the two groups that could be at­trib­uted to the vi­brat­ing plat­forms. Dur­ing the course of the study, how­ever, the re­searchers noted that horses seemed more re­laxed dur­ing vi­bra­tion ther­apy. “Once we started notic­ing changes in be­hav­ior in the treated horses, we be­gan doc­u­ment­ing some qual­i­ta­tive ob­ser­va­tions,” says vet­eri­nary stu­dent Chelsea Nowlin. “What we no­ticed was that treated horses stood more calmly on the plat­form, ap­peared to at­tempt to dis­mount the plat­form fewer times than their con­trol coun­ter­parts, stood with their neck and head low­ered, kept their ears for­ward in­di­cat­ing con­tent­ment and of seemed find­ings ev­i­dence to why en­joy Nowlin were the vi­brat­ing re­laxed, align that more says treat­ment horses with re­laxed.” she but plat­form is anec­do­tal these horses ap­pear un­sure treat­ments. ducted Med­i­cal Sep­a­rate at Cen­ter Penin­sula re­search, in Menlo Equine conPark, WBV’s Cal­i­for­nia, po­ten­tial fo­cused ef­fects on on hoof growth. For that study, 10 horses were treated with WBV five days a week for two 30-minute ses­sions at 40 Hz each day for 60 days. Each horse’s hoof growth was mea­sured dur­ing three pe­ri­ods: in the 30 days prior to the start of the treat­ment, dur­ing the study pe­riod and for 60 days after­ward. The data showed that WBV stim­u­lated hoof growth dur­ing the study pe­riod, which is when the treat­ment was de­liv­ered. “The in­crease in hoof growth rate was sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant, up to 41 per­cent,” says vet­eri­nary sur­geon Bart Hals­berghe, DVM, cVMA, cert. ISELP. “Clin­i­cally, own­ers would likely no­tice [such] in­creased hoof growth be­cause the horse might be due for trim­ming or shoe­ing sooner than nor­mal.” In the 60 days af­ter WBV, hoof growth re­turned to its pre­vi­ous, pre­treat­ment rate. To con­trol for sea­sonal changes in hoof growth rates, the study was per­formed in two times phases of the dur­ing year. dif­fer­ent How ex­actly WBV in­flu­enced hoof growth is not clear, says Hals­berghe. “Un­for­tu­nately, the mech­a­nism of ac­tion be­hind whole body re­searched he says. vi­bra­tion “In­creased in the has horse,” not cir­cula- been tion has been pos­tu­lated, but per­son­ally I think it is the work­load cre­ated on the cells that is re­spon­si­ble for its ef­fect. At the level of the hoof, it is likely in­creased shear force that causes a mechanical stim­u­lus to the cells lead­ing to cell pro­lif­er­a­tion and dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion.” The study did not fo­cus on the qual­ity of the hoof growth dur­ing treat­ments, says Hals­berghe, “how­ever, if we as­sume that the mech­a­nism of ac­tion of whole body vi­bra­tion is re­lated to cell pro­lif­er­a­tion and dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion due to shear forces, it would make sense that whole body vi­bra­tion can help de­velop a stronger foot by in­creas­ing the num­ber of lamel­lae per square mil­lime­ter. This could po­ten­tially ex­plain why sev­eral anec­do­tal case re­ports have shown a ben­e­fi­cial ef­fect of whole body vi­bra­tion in the treat­ment of lamini­tis.”

Ref­er­ences: “Acute and pro­longed ef­fects of vi­brat­ing plat­form treat­ment on horses: A pi­lot study,” Jour­nal of Equine Vet­eri­nary Science, March 2018, and “Ef­fect of two months whole body vi­bra­tion on hoof growth rate in the horse: A pi­lot study,” Re­search in Vet­eri­nary Science, May 2018

Dur­ing the course of the study, the re­searchers noted that horses seemed more re­laxed dur­ing vi­bra­tion ther­apy.

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