FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why do I need to inform my vet before I use a physio?
It is a legal obligation as stated in the 1966 Veterinary Act. Failure to do so will negate my insurance and could put your horse at risk if a full medical history is not known. Also you will be unable to claim under your horse insurance for any treatment if the vet has not been involved.
There are a small minority of vets who do not support physiotherapy and some vets who perform manipulative techniques themselves (at veterinary prices), but 99% of the local vets will only insist on seeing your horse before physio if they have a genuine concern for the welfare of your horse.
Even if my horse only has a schooling problem?
YES!! Open up the lines of communication early on so that if the schooling problem becomes a bigger issue then everyone is informed and the problem can be sorted more quickly and effectively. Tightness in the back is often the first sign that the horse is not pushing off from behind and the problem may well stem from a completely different area to that which you can feel when riding.
What is a manipulation under sedation?
This aspect of physiotherapy is a developing speciality whereby a horse is fully sedated by a vet who usually remains in attendance throughout the course of the treatment. The horse remains standing and is treated by manipulative and strong mobilising techniques. These enable the physio to achieve FULL ranges of movement of specific joints and also of the overlying muscles which, without sedation, would exhibit too much guarding to allow an effective treatment.
There are other situations that may necessitate sedation such as a particularly quirky horse (which is probably reacting due to pain anyway) would respond more freely under sedation. Vets often recommend manipulation under sedation when a horse shows a number of problems which are easier to diagnose when deep treatment of the soft tissues has been effected. A horse with chronic problems, over a period of time, develops compensatory issues which are easy to miss when not sedated.
If manipulation under sedation has been recommended as the best treatment for your horse the vet and/or Liz will have discussed with you their reasons for each individual case.
My friend told me physios only work on muscles and I need a chiropractor to manipulate the joints. Is this true?
No. Muscles move joints and if a joint is stiff the surrounding muscles etc will go into spasm. To gain full range of movement the muscles may need work to release or the joint may simply need manipulating. Physiotherapists are trained full-time for three years to learn how to recognise and rectify these problems and we have many techniques available to us to do this. Each case needs thorough assessment before a treatment technique is performed
I am worried about the cost. How many treatments will my horse need?
Very difficult to answer! Vet referrals for obvious injuries will need an intensive course of treatment, but are usually covered by insurance
The simple schooling problem often only needs the one treatment to put everything back on track.
As a simple rule sedations usually need a follow-up to check the joint ranges and then owner/vet discussion takes place to assess the value of further physio.
When an animal is seen with a problem that has not previously been
assessed by the vet, if no noticeable and continuing improvement is noted
after a maximum of three sessions, the patient will be referred back to
the vet for further examination. Lack of results after physiotherapy would
indicate that only secondary problems were being treated and not the
Many owners work on the 'prevention is better than cure' theory and arrangements can be made to see these horses regularly when competing or in the Spring/Autumn according to the horse's needs.
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