Nov 17 2009
Experience with Pulsating ElectroMagnetic Fields (PEMF) in horse therapy. (Translated from German)
Experience, over a 3-year period treating 290 sport horses with PEMF, justifies the statement that PEMF therapy for horses is a real alternative therapy instead of conventional therapy modalities like corticosteroids, phenylbutazone and other drugs.
Compared to experience in human medicine, therapy in horses require shorter treatment intervals. Specifically the good therapy results obtained for diseases of extremities open up ways for additional PEMF indications. Xenophon (2400 years ago) already wrote in one of his works “About the art of horse riding” specific information as how to avoid diseases and injuries at the joints by means of different therapies, to decrease suffering.
In German literature we find in the 13th century in Albert Ross’ pharmaceutical book a precise description of various horse diseases and their treatments. The development of horses, used for all kind of purposes, to real sport horses were and still are, not without problems for the DVM. Nowadays our sport horses are too early- and to short trained to obtain results for which they are not yet ready, based on their bodies and conditions. This results in various forms of damages dependent on the different uses of horses. Horses are often treated for chronic diseases with various drugs and often training has to be discontinued for weeks or even months. The results of PEMF therapy in veterinary use are objective and can not be any form of placebo effect. Also it was not clear how this form of therapy could be explained according to biophysical therapy methods and only new published works of Altmann and Warnke explained this further. Due to difficulties of using coil applicators for horses special leg-wraps were developed which can be applied without problems at the horse leg, so therapy can be easily done in a short time frame.
PEMF is used for the following diseases: Degenerative diseases, acute and chronic inflammations of sheaths and tendons, ligament ruptures, distortions, contusions, chronic joint diseases, delayed wound- healing, diseases of back and lumbar regions. For acute therapy we start out with values of 20-30 Gauss and 5 Hz. Chronic cases with 50 Gauss, 10 Hz and go up in intensity over a 4-5 day therapy period. Treatment time for daily therapy is at least 15 minutes and for twice daily therapy at least 10 minutes each. In case of infected diseases PEMF therapy should be combined with antibiotics.
Young horses (up to around 10 years) respond extremely well to PEMF therapy. E.g. a large amount of horses who were treated for arthrosis of phalanges and tarsus, are very successful at various forms of sports without any further treatment. For elderly horses with severe joint and ligament diseases it was partly necessary to have some additional therapy sessions after around 6 months.
Many older jumping horses (12-18 years) were treated with phenylbutazone were healed without further need for drugs. Compared to data of human clinical studies it was noticed that horses needed less therapy sessions to obtain results. E.g. for acute inflammations 8 – 10 treatments and for chronic joint diseases, around 12 – 20 treatments. In cases of light to moderate paralysis exercises should be done from day one in combination with therapy. This will prevent significantly set-back in training compared to conventional therapy.
H. Focke DVM, published in “Der Praktische Tierarzt” in Germany.