Sports Medicine as explained by Dr. Swanson
While the context and description of equine sports medicine is variable with locality and discipline, at Littleton Equine Medical Center it relates to veterinary care that helps a horse to excel at a particular job or discipline.
Equine sports medicine has been one of the primary focuses of veterinary care offered since our clinic was founded. LEqMC has worked to have a full complement of services, many of which have an impact on the performing equine athlete. Over the last 25-30 years, veterinary medicine has been fortunate to see major advances in the development of diagnostics and therapies available. State of the art imaging modalities available at LEqMC today include digital ultrasound, wireless digital radiology, nuclear imaging, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Arthroscopy performed both under general anesthesia and standing via needle scope to allow examination of joints along with endoscopy utilized to examine nasal passages, trachea and lungs both add to diagnostic capabilities.
Therapies which may be utilized based on diagnosis include shock wave, traditional intra-articular therapies, regenerative therapeutics (including IRAP, PRP, and stem cells), and integrative medicine techniques including chiropractic, acupuncture, and cold laser therapy.
The Veterinarian’s Goal
In the context of our clinic culture, continued success in sports medicine has been dependent not only on technologic advances but also collaboration and learning from peers in the profession both nationally and internationally, group case discussion, and a team-oriented mentality.
The veterinarian’s goal with equine sports medicine is to be a part of the team along with the owner, trainer and farrier to help the horse achieve the owner’s objectives with the well-being of the horse as the common denominator for all therapies, from Grand Prix jumper to trail-riding horse.
Achieving this goal requires open communication between all involved. From the veterinarian’s perspective, it is important to have the details of the horse’s past history including activities and veterinary care. The examination will be conducted in a consistent pattern with special attention to areas of concern. All findings are weighted with the expectations of the owner and the welfare of the horse.