Equine post-trauma care needs radical rethink, practitioner says

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Many horses involved in road traffic accidents are left with chronic issues.
Many horses involved in road traffic accidents are left with chronic issues.

Two to six weeks is the ‘Golden Time’ after a traumatic incident such as a transportation accident when a horse can benefit most by veterinary and physical therapy, a leading practitioner says.

McTimoney practitioner Dr Emma Punt says vets and therapists should rethink how they approach post-trauma care following transportation accidents with her ‘Golden Time’ concept. In the UK 52% of transport incidents involving horses result in a horse being hurt and of these 30% are left with chronic issues.

Punt presented her ground-breaking concept for post-trauma care last week at the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association (BARTA) conference at the University College Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, California.

McTimoney animal practitioner Dr Emma Punt treating a horse.
McTimoney animal practitioner Dr Emma Punt treating a horse.

She shared her vision for how vets and McTimoney therapists should rethink how they approach post-trauma care following transportation accidents with her ‘Golden Time’ treatment concept. In the UK 52% of transport incidents involving horses result in a horse being hurt and of these 30% are left with chronic issues.

“In recent years I’ve seen increasing numbers of horses with musculo-skeletal issues caused by transportation accidents. This inspired me to look at how vets and McTimoney chiropractors could work in partnership to offer enhanced rehabilitation after the accident, to improve outcomes for both horses and owners.”

Dr Emma Punt talks about post-trauma care at the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association conference in California.
Dr Emma Punt talks about post-trauma care at the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association conference in California.

Punt says the ‘Golden Time’ is ideal to improve outcomes and manage owner/rider expectations. “This is the period when I believe a partnership approach between vets and chiropractors could make a huge difference.”

Punt has practised as a McTimoney equine and canine chiropractor for more than 12 years. She is the research lead for BARTA, which has a mission to advise, direct and train personnel involved in fire and rescue situations, to safeguard public and emergency responders and to improve the welfare and viability of animals in emergency situations.

At the California conference, Punt presented preliminary results from a British survey that she initiated with Nottingham Trent University.

“Today, when a horse is rescued, it might be considered viable on first inspection at the roadside, but it may never return to work. It may even end up being put down at a later date. We should recognise that during an incident the horse is full of adrenalin and stress hormones. The horse has probably been sedated to enable its rescue, and it wouldn’t be safe to trot the horse up on the road,” she says.

“So a roadside assessment may not show all or any of the injuries the horse has sustained. These might even be fatal, result in the horse being put to sleep, have a detrimental impact on the horse’s ability to work, or mean that the horse cannot reach the same level of performance enjoyed before the accident or that the horse is left unsound and needs to be retired.

“Taking a different approach to assessing the viability, and in particular any hidden injuries such as musculo-skeletal issues that can be treated with McTimoney, in the weeks after the accident could revolutionise follow-up care. This would ensure more horses can return to work.”

Punt said the two to six week time frame would be flexible according to the individual needs and injuries sustained.

Presenters at the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association (BARTA) conference at the University College Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, California.
Presenters at the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association (BARTA) conference at the University College Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, California.

All members of the McTimoney Animal Association are qualified after training with the premier institution of its kind, the McTimoney College in Abingdon, having studied up to three years at postgraduate level attaining an MSc or Post Graduate Diploma in Animal Manipulation.

McTimoney Animal Practitioners are registered with the McTimoney Animal Association.

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