Resources on how to diagnose, treat, prevent, and handle lameness in horses
Common Causes of Lameness in the Fetlock
Resources on how to diagnose, treat, prevent, and handle lameness in horses
Common Causes of Lameness in the Fetlock
Judith M. Shoemaker, DVM 305 Nottingham Road Nottingham, PA 19362
717-529-0526 Fax 717-529-0776
Ozone therapy has been utilized and heavily studied for more than a century. Its effects are proven, consistent, safe and without side effects. Why is it not more universal in its use? Many of you have come with some trepidation about infusing a gas into a vessel because you are concerned about emboli, or have some dreadful fear about ozone’s toxicity since we frequently hear about the unhealthy ozone levels in the atmosphere. These fears do not apply to properly administered medical ozone, and the potential benefits of ozone therapy are profound and without associated detrimental effects.
Oxygen, in its several forms, cycles through the atmosphere and life processes just as water does. Ozone is produced in the upper atmosphere when UV light strikes the oxygen rising from plants, plankton, and algae in our forests and seas. It then falls back through the atmosphere, as it is heavier than air, combining with pollutants and water, cleaning the air and forming peroxides that benefit plants. Ultraviolet light breaking down pollutants and nitrous oxides also can produce ozone at the ground level, which is the eye and lung irritant in smog.
Medical ozone, used to disinfect and treat disease, has been around for over 150 years. Used to treat infections, wounds, and multiple diseases, ozone’s effectiveness has been well documented. Ozone has been used to disinfect drinking water since before the turn of the last century. A text on medical ozone therapy was published by Dr. Charles J. Kenworth in 1885! The best technology for producing ozone gas was designed and built by Nikola Tesla in the 1920’s. Heads of leading medical institutions in the U.S. contributed to a 1929 book “Ozone and Its Therapeutic Actions” describing the treatment of 114 diseases using ozone.
In 1933, the AMA began its systematic suppression of all modalities of treatment that did not complement its liaison with the emerging pharmacologic and diagnostic industries. Ozone therapy, along with many other useful therapies, were methodically eliminated from the educational process and exposure to the public in the U.S.
Less suppression has occurred in Europe and other countries, especially in Russia. Today in Germany, and other countries, ozone therapy is commonplace. Over 7000 doctors in Germany use it daily. In fact, in Germany, ozone generators are in ambulances for treatment of stroke victims. The incidence of permanent paralysis in these patients is much less than that in similar patients where ozone is not used.
Ozone generators are relatively simple and inexpensive. The equipment used to handle ozone is readily available but needs to be relatively non-reactive. Glass, Teflon, Kynar, silicon, and gold are completely non-reactive. Equipment made of other substances can contaminate the ozone or just deteriorate rapidly using up the ozone and becoming nonfunctional.
Generators use several technologies to produce ozone
Ozone poteniates free radical scavenging substances and systems in the body, inducing the production of superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase. If ozone administration causes any respiratory irritation from out-gassing through the lungs, a bolus dose of 1 to 5 grams of vitamin C can be given and will eliminate any coughing instantly.
Oxygen/ozone mixtures cannot cause emboli when injected at reasonable rates as they dissolve and diffuse very quickly in body fluids, unlike air (predominantly nitrogen) which is what forms emboli and causes the bends or decompression disease.
The physiologic actions of ozone are many, the simplest of which is to provide sufficient oxygen to allow complete oxidation of sugars and other fuels to produce sufficient and efficient energy and to “burn clean” to CO2, water, and inert end products. If not enough oxygen is available, then incomplete oxidation occurs, producing carbon monoxide, lactic acid, and partially oxidized toxins that inhibit further oxygen metabolism and “clog the system”, tying up hemoglobin, water, and the mechanisms for function and elimination.
Administration can be through any route with modifications:
Antioxidants help the body to protect itself from excessive oxidative damage caused by multiple free radicals, many of which are inactivated by ozone. The support of free radical scavenging systems is important but only oxygen can improve the deficit that makes cells vulnerable to oxidative damage in the first place. Long-term ozone therapy can be augmented by supplementation with antioxidants, but normally they should not be administered within 4 to 12 hours of ozone therapies.
Ozone produces the same effects as exercise, which produces significantly more free radical oxygen than can be administered in any ozone treatment. Ozone equals ”exercise in a syringe” without doing joint damage.
Ozone potentiates more complete oxidation, helps to maintain more normal body temperature and increases the effects of most hormones, vitamins, herbs, homeopathics, and drugs. Concurrent ozone administration reduces the amount of chemotherapeutic drugs needed to achieve effect by 1⁄4 to 3⁄4. It complements chelation therapies and frequently improves the affect and sense of well being in patients.
Continued therapy will allow Herring’s Law to manifest “Healing from inside to outside, top to bottom, front to rear, and in reverse chronological order of the insults to the body.” Healing crises, however, may occur. Ozone therapy facilitates the rapid resolution of these crises.
2005 Judith M. Shoemaker, DVM
Over the last couple weeks the rain has been unrelenting. And with rain comes scratches (Pastern Dermatitis). In a previous entry I spoke about an amazing treatment for scratches that actually worked…however, when it rains like it has recently, once again the scratches got out of control.
A handful of months ago I got a skin scrape on Chance’s hind legs to determine the bacteria that was causing the scratches. Sure enough there were three types of bacteria growing which was why I was having so much difficulty getting them under control.
Below are the results:
As you can see above, the bacteria shows resistance or no interpretation to all but 7 antibiotics. I spoke to my vet and she suggested beginning with Gentamicin and go from there if he does not respond to the medication. Chance has been receiving an injection of 30 mls of Gentamicin in his muscle once a day for about a week now. He obviously does not enjoy this, nor do I for that matter, but his scratches are showing improvements! He is also on the topical cream, Silver Sulfadiazine, once a day.
Fingers crossed that I will get ahead of the scratches and they will go away forever!
Chance has always loved to follow me around. Usually he just walks behind me or next to me around the barn or in the field, and other times he prefers doing this….(the bandage on his hind leg is a treatment to get rid of pastern dermatitis or “scratches” which you can read more about in my previous posts).
The other day I noticed that Chance’s back fetlock a were slightly swollen and he was visably stiffer then normal. I also noticed a golf ball sized lump in the middle of the his chest. It wasn’t super sensitive and looked like a tick bite reaction, except there was no tick and a tiny barely noticeable scratch.
I put a Poltace wrap on his back right leg (which was the leg he had previously injured and received stem cell injections in) and gave him some pain medication. I also started him on Baytril and Ulcerguard as a precaution as previously advised by the vet.
I made an appointment with our vet to come ultrasound his hind right leg and she was to come out in the next two days. I was incredibly anxious to say the least.
The vet arrived and explained that the lump on Chance’s chest was a hematoma from another horse biting him or from him hitting something. Nothing to worry about, it was just the pooling of fluids to lowest point.
I then trotted Chance back and forth as the vet watched. After an exam and the ultrasound, the vet explained that she felt that the swelling was due to Chance’s hip pain and the Pastern dermatitis that we have been treating and we’re finally coming off.
The ultrasound showed a tiny DDFT lesion (vet referred to as a defect that shouldn’t be causing any symptoms). The ultrasound also showed scar tissue that we need to get “stretched out” so that he can gain increased flexibility and work as a protection for Chance’s tendons and legiments. The ultrasound also showed some fluid build up as well. Chance’s Fetlock looks good as do his legiments.
The vet wants Chance to stay on Baytril and Ulcerguard until complete. She also has added a 5 day course of Benadryl and steroids to help with edema of back hind legs.
She also provided me with a shampoo that is milder to clean off scratches and apply swat after cleaning. The vet explained that she didn’t understand why people picked the scabs from the scratches because they’re super deep and pulling the scabs off does more harm than good.
The Vet commented on Chance’s weight gain and how great his skin looks gooded. She wants me to continue working on the scratches and continue doing physical therapy on hills to build up his hind end then get farrier out for back feet.
All and all I feel good about how Chance is doing and feeling. He is still full of energy, eats like he hasn’t eaten in a week, and his eyes and coat are bright. He is not on daily pain medication and is only given it when he is not feeling great. Aside from a few hiccups, Chance is loving life and being spoiled!
The other day the vet gave me a way to treat and get rid of my horse’s treatment- resistant, stubborn, and seemingly IMPOSSIBLE to get rid of scratches or Pastern Dermatitis.
She suggested mixing Betadine and Vaseline and applying it to the infected area, then wrapping it with Seren wrap and a standing wrap. Leave it on for 12 hours, remove, clean, and redo if necessary for up to 3 days.
Well, it worked! The scabs just fell off! No more trying to pick off the scabs resulting in the discomfort of my horse or struggling to get him to let me pick at him!
I have been fighting my horse’s scratches for about 15 years- antibiotics, ointments, MTG, baby oil to soften them, Zinc Oxide, wraps, immune boosters, etc- and nothing has worked until now!
Spoke with Vet4 today. He said Chance has made a “100% turn around”. He trotted him today and Chance was putting full weight on both hind feet! Swelling is disappearing as well!
We spoke about further treatments aside from the Baytril.
I asked about potassium penicillin- He is apprehensive to do potassium penicillin due to horses on antibiotics having DNA changing effects. That it is best to stick to the Baytril and do an ultrasound tomorrow (Friday) to view any changes to the masses. He suggests to have Baytril on hand when Chance leaves to begin immediately if swelling occurs again, which he believes will not be the case after this hospitalization.
I asked about Hydraulic acid: He also is hesitant to inject the SS with the Hydraulic acid due to it’s effects on certain bacterial strains- often allowing the bacteria to hide from the antibiotics. He does agree that another round of injections would probably be helpful and will know more after the next ultrasound.
When asked whether scratches can lead to Lymphangitis, thus leading to the infected SS, he said it is hard to tell but certainly possible.
Chance is currently receiving laser therapy and cold compression therapy along with Baytril, pain meds, and supplements.
Vet4 believes that Chance should be able to leave within a week to two weeks depending on progress!