Interview with Erin Morgan DVM
by Jennifer Carcaci-Trumble
Morrisville State College is the only college that offers Equine Science with a concentration in Equine Rehabilitation for undergraduates.
The therapies they use are some of the new and upcoming areas in the equine industry. Continuing research has made them more mainstream. These therapies apply to all equine disciplines. Erin Morgan DVM said, “The students see a nice variety of horses and it gives [them] a mixture of cases that they see.”
Dr. Morgan described a typical day of a tendon injury case. With tendon injuries the client usually stays for a few months, because healing is a long process. The procedure starts out with speaking to the horse’s personal veterinarian to see what can be done without adding injury to the horse. Owners are then consulted to see what is expected and what the budgetary guidelines are.
The typical day starts by putting the horse on the underwater treadmill. The treadmill is just like one used by humans but larger in size. The horse is led in and both side doors are closed. The treadmill can then be filled with water.
The treadmill is followed up by cold water therapy. The Game Ready™ therapy unit combines the benefits of cold water and compression therapy. The compression boot wraps around the leg and circulates cold water through it and compresses the tissues. The compression mimics muscle contraction, which helps to keep swelling down.
Another option that may be used is the Cold Saltwater Spa. The horse stands in the spa which combines cold water at 36 degrees Fahrenheit with Epsom salt. Water jets provide turbulence. The turbulence is comparable to what you feel in hot tubs. Saltwater therapy will decrease inflammation, because the salt water provides buoyancy. This makes it possible exercise with little stress as possible on the injury. As the exercise is increased with the horse, cold water therapy is used to prevent further injuries.
Later in the day the horse will get handheld Laser Therapy to stimulate the cells by using light that helps promote acceleration of tissue healing or they may use therapeutic ultrasound. This is similar to the laser but works in a different way, aligning the collagen fibers in the tendon as it heals to make it better quality healing within the tissue. “It all depends what the owner wants to pay for and what we can do,” said Dr. Morgan.
The Solarium Therapy is radiant heat from multiple lights. Horses stand under them for around 20 minutes. The purpose of this therapy is permit relaxation of the back muscles and increase circulation. This therapy is used in conjunction with the treadmill, to build up the back muscles so they get stronger.
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