October 4, 2020
Deborah L. Marshall DVM, CVA, CVC
Shahsean at the time of this incident was a 32 year old, 3/4 Arab 1/4 Morgan gelding. On June 6, 2018 he came out of his stall with a clear “profile” to the R front leg. On ultrasound there was definite damage to the superficial flexor tendon in this leg though the horse did not seem particularly uncomfortable. He was treated conservatively with a micro-stim and it was decided to leave him on turn out as he has access to his stall, is quiet in pasture and gets rather agitated when kept in. Shahsean seemed comfortable and appeared to be doing well.
On July 7, 2018 the L superficial flexor started to show signs of injury and there was some sensitivity in the L suspensory as well. This scenario seemed more painful and it was decided to leave him in in stall rest with support wraps and anti-inflammatories. He was also receiving light therapy when the therapist was available which seemed to help him.
By August 6, 2018 the horse still seemed to be exhibiting discomfort and on August 18, 2018 Shahsean experienced a bad laminitis episode. He was recumbent and deeply painful. Shahsean was immediately placed in ice boots and support wraps and given Bute for pain and inflammation. Ice was applied 24 hours a day which continued for 5 days. By the 19th we had managed to place pads on his feet while he was recumbent and he was becoming a little less painful. Shahsean was able to stand up that afternoon on the pads and was able to hand graze for about 10 minutes. Once able to stand we were able to take radiographs which showed a slight rotation in the right front. On day 5 his tricep was treated to soften the muscle and to decrease the distracting force on the deep digital flexor. A veterinary podiatrist was able to put on clogs to support Shahsean, though using wedges was ruled out because of his superficial tendon injuries. The clogs provided tremendous relief and Shahsean was able to be allowed self turn out.
The following week it occurred to me that the one thing I needed most to help me in Shahsean’s recovery was the use of magnetic boots. It is not uncommon in the older horses for their tendons and ligaments to lose strength and cohesion and become dysfunctional. While Shahsean is older and had had one mild laminitis episode the previous January, we did not feel he was a Cushings horse and that any metabolic issues were relatively mild as he showed no other signs of metabolic dysfunction. Both the attending veterinarians, the owner and the attending veterinary podiatrist felt that the dysfunction in the horses tendons had been a large contributing factor in the laminitis episode. These scenarios in the older horse are difficult to treat and the magnetic therapy provides a truly good way to treat and support these tissues. We had Shahsean on Pentoxi and Ulcer Guard to lessen the pain but pharmaceuticals do not support tissue reconstruction. This the magnetic therapy appears to excel in.
We began using the Sport Innovations magnetic boots on a Regenerate setting 2X a day for 10 days at 75% for 20 minutes. 10 days later we changed to Regenerate 1X a day for 30 minutes at 100%. When not in the magnetic boots he was kept in support wraps to help support the tendinous structures. The first thing I began to notice was the change in the “profile” of the right front. As you can see in the pictures below we started with quite a large bulge to the
superficial flexor tendon, this had started in June and had not become appreciably better. Yet you can see in the pictures below the difference in shape that had been accomplished with the use of the Sport Innovations magnetic boots. The photos were taken about 3 months apart, but the tendons had had this profile for months before the first picture was taken. The first picture was taken June 24, before the laminitis episode which happened on August 18th, we started the Sport Innovations magnetic boots on August 27th and the second picture was taken October 3, about 6 weeks after the laminitis episode. By then the clogs had been removed and the horse was doing well, I credit this good recovery also to the use of the magnetic boots as it seemed to reduce pain and help support the entire structure of the leg.
One thing I liked about the Sport Innovations magnetic boots was the ease of use. They were easy to put on and stayed on even if I left Shahsean to his own devices. He also seemed happier and more comfortable with them on, which I noticed because he spent more time grazing and less time just standing. Here he is in his boots.
We also did do before and after ultrasounds as we were watching the progress of these tendons.
This is the before picture. What we are looking at is a cross section of the tendons. The superficial digital flexor wraps around the deep digital flexor tendon which is where the blue arrow is. The red arrow shows an area of the superficial digital flexor tendon that looks quite mottled and disorganized. That is because the fibers have been injured and disrupted and there is now space between them. What we want is for them to look more cohesive and organized which is what we hope the magnetic boots help us with.
This is the after picture taken a few months later to see how we are progressing. You can see how much smoother and more organized the area is that the red arrow is pointing to. Everything looks smoother and the tissues look more cohesive. We could also see this on the picture of Shahsean’s leg looking at the profile. The tissues have lined up and organized well in their healing process. This is something that the magnetic boots seems to excel at and a finding that I have seen duplicated numerous times.
Shahsean is now 35 and still doing well. He still has some bouts of dysfunction in his tendons and when he does I immediately go to the Sport Innovations magnetic boots. The minute I put them on Shahsean becomes more relaxed and comfortable and I know that in the interior the tissues are being helped to heal and line up in a more organized fashion. These boots have certainly helped Shahsean live a productive and happy life and I am grateful.
Deborah L. Marshall DVM, CVA, CVC