Hot Vs. Cold Therapy for Horses

Hot and cold therapies both have benefits when it comes to horse injuries—learn how and when to use each type.
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Cold Therapy: Apply cold therapy when you want to reduce blood flow to an area. It’s most effective within the first 48 hours of an injury, but can useful on injuries up to seven days old. Applying cold therapy reduces inflammation and provides pain relief. “Icing,” as it’s sometimes called, can also be used preventatively as a post-workout regimen. Ways to apply cold therapy include cold-hosing, using an ice boot, and wrapping an ice pack around your horse’s leg.

[Read More: Tips on Icing Your Horse's Legs]

Brown horse being sprayed with a hose.

Hot Therapy: Apply hot therapy when you want to increase blood flow and circulation. Increasing blood flow promotes healing by increasing the amount of oxygen in the area. Generally hot therapy is used for wound healing but is also beneficial for muscle spasms. Since hot therapy relaxes muscles, this makes it a great pre-workout regimen. Ways to apply hot therapy are—applying hot water with a hose or bucket, using a heating pack, and applying ointments. Since heat therapy can present a danger to your horse if applied incorrectly—high temperatures can cause tissue damage—contact your veterinarian so he or she can show you how to do it correctly.

[Read More: Understand Hot and Cold Therapy]

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