“Horses can readily get into trouble all by themselves and this one has been no exception; he was playing in his paddock, lost his footing and slid into the gate post – the result – a fractured skull. Fortunately we were watching his antics so were on-hand to act immediately; as soon as the horse rose to his feet so began what was effectively a life-saving exercise; Fred continually flushed the wound with a gentle flow of water thus removing any debris particles and to stop the blood from congealing before the vet arrived. Following further debriding by the vet which included removing pieces of broken bone, the wound was stitched with a drain inserted. We were warned about all the negatives which could now follow such as major swelling which would likely cause stitches to burst, sight and sinus issues, skin sloughing away and the horse being left with a permanent indentation in his head – and of course possible long-term damage/side effects from such significant head trauma.
Just 5 days later the drain was removed and whilst a considerable amount of unpleasant material drained from the nostrils there was not the extent of swelling expected so the stitches held firm and were removed a further 6 days later – this was when the skin was expected to break down and drop off.
Apart from keeping the area scrupulously clean there was nothing we could do until the stitches were removed but once they were we elected to use laser treatment to aid healing, to try and prevent skin slough and help minimise the risk of white hairs growing back on the stitch line – if indeed any hair regrew at all.
We did not opt to use a high-powered veterinary grade laser but instead used the FMBs Therapy Systems Light Therapy Cluster. The beams from Class IV lasers are extremely powerful so can cut tissue and with scientific research confirming that the strong beams even when defocussed are not so effective as a healing tool, although great for pain relief, our choice of using a lower intensity piece of equipment was the right one in this situation as the deep, penetrating effect is still there but just takes a little longer; we equate it to slow cooking as opposed to using a microwave!
For those not familiar with laser and LED – they produce intense beams of light at specific wavelengths, certain wavelengths of light affecting cell function either stimulating or inhibiting it depending on the intensity and the length of time treatment is applied. When used correctly with the right wavelength at the right intensity for the right amount of time and applied at the appropriate location, repair can be stimulated, inflammation reduced and pain managed, the beams of light emitted helping to stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanism.
Within 6 weeks the wound had healed beautifully and now, even close up, you would never now what this horse has been through. The bones have now hardened properly, hair has grown on the stitch site and not one is white! There are no evident side effects and the horse is now making a return to low level exercise so that we can monitor his proprioception, co-ordination and reactions before putting him back under saddle. “So far so good” we can report.
Quick thinking, a great vet, correct wound management first-class nutrition from Castle Horse Feeds and treatment from the FMBs Therapy Systems Laser = a horse which is very much alive and kicking!
Thank you to Fred and Rowena Cook of Equine Management and Training for sharing one of their posts with us