VIEWS ABOUT BACK PAIN TREAT­MENT CHANGE

EQUUS - - Medicalfront -

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

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