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infrared range, to deliver light energy to the affected area, The goal is to reduce inflammation and pain, and promote healing.
Some studies have suggested that HILT may be effective in treating bone spavin, a condition characterized by degeneration and inflammation of the hock joint in horses.
To investigate this possibility, researchers in Poland, used HILT in clinical cases of bone spavin referred to the Department of Surgery in Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences.
Paulina Zielińska, Karolina Śniegucka, Zdzisław Kiełbowicz describe their findings in a report published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.
For the study, horses were required to exhibit hindlimb lameness that was aggravated by flexion of the limb but improved with anaesthesia of the tarsometatarsal joint. They also needed to show radiographic evidence of hock changes consistent with bone spavin. None of the horses had received any treatment for spavin in the previous six months. Eleven horses met the criteria for inclusion.
A course of treatment consisted of 10 HILT sessions over a two-week period.
Using the American Association of Equine Practitioners 5-point lameness scale, the researchers evaluated the severity of lameness before and after treatment. They found that four horses (36%) improved by 2 lameness grades, four (36%) improved by 1 lameness grade, and three horses (28%) showed no improvement. Of the horses that did improve after HILT, three were reported to be sound at the post-treatment examination.
In terms of the limb flexion (spavin) test, 5 horses (45%) showed improvement after treatment, while 6 horses (55%) maintained the same spavin test grade as before treatment. However, all horses still exhibited lameness following the limb flexion (spavin) test.
The researchers' findings suggest that HILT can be safely used for horses with bone spavin, as it helps to decrease joint pain and lameness. However, it appears to have limited effectiveness in reducing the response to a flexion test in the short term.
Although it's still too early to definitively determine whether HILT is a viable alternative for managing joint pain in horses with bone spavin, the researchers note that the initial results are promising enough to warrant further investigation.
For more details, see:
Paulina Zielińska, Karolina Śniegucka, Zdzisław Kiełbowicz,
A Case Series of 11 Horses Diagnosed with Bone Spavin Treated with High Intensity Laser Therapy (HILT),
Journal of Equine Veterinary Science,