VIEWS ABOUT BACK PAIN TREATMENT CHANGE
A study from Italy shows shifting attitudes among veterinarians about how best to treat back pain in horses, moving from reliance on systemic medications and toward the use of complementary therapies.
Researchers at the University of Turin reviewed responses to two multicentric surveys, one completed by 47 equine veterinarians in 2006 and another completed by 168 equine veterinarians in 2016 from eight European countries. Because of structural differences in the surveys, researchers could not make direct data comparisons, but they were able to identify areas of consistency and change over the decade. For instance, hands-on examination that includes putting pressure directly on the horse’s back has been and continues to be the most common diagnostic technique, with 98 percent of veterinarians reporting using it in 2006 and 97 percent reporting the same in 2016. The popularity of some treatments have also remained constant: Corticosteroids injections were used for local treatments of back pain by 80 percent of respondents in 2006 and by 92 percent in 2016.
In contrast, the researchers documented a significant increase in the use of
therapies outside of conventional medicine. In the 2006 survey, 20 percent of respondents indicated they used some type of complementary therapy, while in 2016 40 percent reported using osteopathy, the manipulation and massage of the bones, joints, and muscles; 29 percent applied kinesiotherapy, the therapeutic application of exercise and movement; and 22 percent used acupuncture,
the insertion of needles at various points in the body to alleviate pain and to treat various conditions.
At the same time, the respondents indicated that their estimation of the efficacy of systemic nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs had declined. In the 2006 survey, 55 percent of veterinarians reported they observed a “good” response from medications delivered to equine patients intramuscularly or intravenously. In 2016, only 10 percent reported a “good” response from nonsteroidal medications, with 32 percent reporting a “moderate” response and 34 percent reporting a “poor” response.
Reference: “Two multicenter surveys on equine backpain 10 years apart,” Frontiers in Veterinary Science, August 2018