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Frequently Asked Questions
Here we have tried to answer some of your most common concerns.
If you do not find an answer to your question here, contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us by phone or post - details here
Why do you need to know which vet I use?
It is a legal requirement (Veterinary Surgeons Act) that any therapist gain veterinary permission prior to treating an animal. As we have a good working relationship with the veterinary practices in the area we cover, generally a call to the relevant vet is sufficient. However if you intend to claim our fees back from your insurance company, a visit and assessment from your vet prior to commencement of our treatment to make a referral may be required, although this can often be carried out as a joint assessment with the therapist at commencement of the treatment.
How do I know if my horse has a sore back?
Common indications that your horse may have a sore back include resentment or sensitivity when grooming or tacking up, subdued/depressed outlook, loss of performance, dipping (cold backed) when mounted, reluctance to work in an outline or go forward, bolting or bucking and rearing.
Can you manipulate a horse’s vertebrae back into position?
It is a common misconception that horses’ bones go out of position, the vertebrae in a horse’s back are held so tightly together by their interlocking construction and the soft tissues surrounding the joints that they cannot go out of position. However after an injury to the soft tissues the muscles go into protective spasm and this can cause the joints to become ‘jammed up’ or restricted in their range of movement. Once muscle spasm is removed the joints can be manipulated to regain full function or range of movement.
How can I prevent my horse getting a soft tissue injury?
We recommend that all horses have at least couple of physiotherapy assessments a year; this will nip any problems in the bud before they become chronic in nature. It is also important to ensure your horse is adequately warmed up and down before and after exercise incorporating suitable suppling exercises in the program and is fit enough for the work expected. It is important to ensure your horse’s diet is correctly balanced providing all the necessary vitamins and minerals and a suitable level of energy for the work expected to help prevent muscle damage and promote repair of damaged tissues.
I have been advised to have my horse massaged every 4 to 6 weeks to keep him in peak condition, do you recommend this?
Most horses thoroughly enjoy massage; if your budget stretches to treats for your horse a massage would be appreciated. It is important to realise that massage does not go very deep and does not do the same job as, or replace, physiotherapy and for muscle injuries will not cure the problem or free off the joints. If you have the time many simple massage techniques can easily be carried out by you. This will help to familiarise you with how your horse’s body feels so you notice a problem quickly, and also promotes rapport between you.
I have been advised that a physiotherapist only works on the soft tissues and that I need a chiropractor or osteopath to sort out the bones. Is this correct?
It is true that some physiotherapists do not manipulate as part of their treatment regime however as a practice all our therapists are trained to treat both the soft tissues and the bones consecutively; we have found that this is the most effective way to treat horses. By initially freeing off the soft tissues the joints can then be manipulated to regain full range of movement. The therapeutic effects last, as the muscle spasm is removed prior to manipulation, preventing a recurrence of the symptoms. If manipulation is carried out in isolation the soft tissues remain in spasm and quickly cause the joint to become restricted or ‘jammed up’ again.