Ice, Ice, (and Salts ) Baby
No matter what activity you do with your horse, quality care is a must, both before or after a problem arises. One of the most resourceful tools that we utilize here at the spa, is the Nautilus Saltwater Spa. This particular brand, developed by Dave Williams, is one of the most trusted pieces of equipment in the Equine industry. So popular in fact, that you will find one of their trailers set up at some of the largest competitions in the country. Trainers and owners alike know the importance of preventing injuries before they occur, and make it a point to schedule their athletes for time in the spa at these major events. Below, we have highlighted some of the FAQ's we receive concerning this service.
What are the benefits of the Cold Water Spa? The cold tank can be used for both preventative care as well as injury rehabilitation for the lower legs (from the hocks down). Set at 34 degrees Fahrenheit, the cold temperature can help reduce inflammation and heat that can cause damage to the suspensory, tendons, hoof capsules, etc. From a penetrative standpoint, the cold water can help reduce inflammation before it happens during every day training. Additionally, muscle relaxation is increased and joint pain is reduced while aiding the body's natural repair cycle.
2. What are the benefits of the Hot Water Spa? Hot water therapy can be highly beneficial for use in arthritic horses before work to help increase the blood flow to their legs. For horses that suffer from joint stiffness, or difficulty with adequate blood flow, this is an aspect we love to use pre-swim or before a EuroXiser session, so that the horse can get a better, safer workout. It can also be used for drawing out an abscess in a horse’s hooves, allowing it to drain faster than wrapping alone. The water in the Hot Saltwater Spa is set at a relaxing 112 degrees.
3. How does the Epsom Salt and Dead Sea Salt help promote healing? Epsom and Dead Sea Salts have been used for decades to promote healing, relaxation, pain relief and more. The Magnesium component of Epsom Salt helps the body reduce inflammation along with promoting nerve and muscle functions. The sulfates in these salts also assist in flushing toxins from the body and when used with hot water, will aid in increasing blood flow. Dead Sea Salts share the same benefits as Epsom Salt, as well as helping to reduce and repair certain skin conditions, and ease joint or muscle pain. Dead Sea Salt contains 12 different essential minerals that occur in the body naturally, but tend to become depleted through out the day and need to be replaced.
4. Does my horse need a Vet Release for this treatment? If used for prevention, no, a vet release is not typically necessary. If your animal has been injured and/or has recently seen a veterinarian for treatment then yes, we do require a statement in writing that the treatment is safe for the horse as well as the protocol the vet suggests. A good, working relationship and excellent communication between the owner, veterinarian and ourselves is absolutely vital to delivering the best possible outcome for the horse.
5. Will this require any sedation? Each horse varies on whether or not they need sedation. In most cases, we will always sedate the horse on their first visit if they have never been in a tank before. This will be up to the Head Technicians’ discretion. As the horse becomes more comfortable in the tank, we are usually able to do decrease the amount of sedation needed or not give any at all. All sedation is given under veterinary supervision, and vitals are taken before the horse is sedated for the first time to check their cardiovascular health. *Please keep in mind if you are going to a competition that many organizations require blood testing. Make sure you are aware of when you will show and let the technicians at the spa know so we can advise you on the withdrawal periods for the sedatives.
6. Can I hold my horse while they are getting treated? For the safety of everyone involved, only spa technicians are allowed to handle your horse while it is in the tank. The technicians can show you the best place for you to observe the service if you would like. They are also able to take photos or videos for you as long as it can be done safely. As the horse becomes comfortable in the tank after numerous visits, you may be able to become more involved!
7. How long do they stay in the water? Does it have to be done every day? Typically, your horse will stay in the tank for 16 minutes total. This includes 3 mins to fill, 3 min to empty, plus 10 min in the tank. In the hot tank, we are able to extend this to 20 min on average.
8. My horse has an abscess, should he go in hot or cold water? The treatment for this will greatly depend on the veterinary recommendation and the stage at which the abscess has developed. The cold tank can be used, up the knees, to help decrease any secondary inflammation that has developed due to the abscess, followed by a session in the hot tank, filled just past the coronet band to help draw out the infection from the hoof capsule. On other occasions, we may only use the hot in order to focus strictly on drawing out the abscess and treat the inflammation of the tendons with topicals and/or standing wraps.
9. If my horse still has an open wound, but I would like to see if the cold water will take out the swelling, can she go in the cold tank? In most cases, yes, they can still go in the tank. The Epsom Salt and Dead Sea Salt has excellent healing capabilities in addition to drawing the inflammation out. Although, if the wound is actively bleeding, we would not be able to put them in the tank at that time. After 24 hrs, it is usually safe to add this to their protocol.
10. How high can you fill the water? We fill the water up so that it completely covers their hocks and knees. It’s important that the cold water doesn’t touch the belly as it’s too cold to touch the vital organs. In some cases, we may keep the water at a lower level if the focus is in the hoof or lower portions of the leg.
11. Can other animals go in the tank or is it just for horses? Currently, we use the Nautilus tank primarily for horses, but we have also been able to accept bovine clients as well as several human patients that are able to benefit from the Saltwater soak.
We are so blessed that we are able to offer this great service to all of our customers and we continue to be amazed by the results we see! If you have any questions concerning how this might be an option for your animal, please feel free to contact us at 940-665-1940!