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Is Mesotherapy an Effective Treatment for Equine Back Pain?

Updated: 3 days ago

Exploring Mesotherapy in Horses: An Innovative Approach to Equine Health

In the ever-evolving world of veterinary medicine, innovations continually emerge, offering new hope and improved outcomes for our equine companions. One such advancement gaining traction is mesotherapy, a technique with roots in human medicine that is now being adapted for use in horses. This blog post delves into the intricacies of mesotherapy, its applications, benefits, and considerations within the context of equine health.


What is Mesotherapy?

Mesotherapy, originally developed in France in the 1950s, involves the administration of small amounts of medications, vitamins, and other therapeutic substances directly into the middle layer of the skin (mesoderm) using fine needles. The goal is to target specific areas with minimal systemic absorption, thereby reducing side effects and enhancing local effects.


How Does Mesotherapy Work?

The technique involves a series of microinjections administered along the affected area.


In the spinal canal, there are nerves coming out from the top and bottom of each part of the spine. These nerves, called dorsal and ventral nerve roots, have different jobs: dorsal ones bring sensory info from the body to the brain, while ventral ones help with movement.


When a horse feels muscle pain, it's because tiny nerve fibers in their skin, called A-delta and C fibers, send signals to the brain. But the skin also has bigger faster nerve fibers, called A-beta fibers, which respond to touch. When we touch something, these A-beta fibers get activated first and they kind of "block the gate" for pain signals to get in by triggering other nerve cells in the spine instead of pain receptors.


Mesotherapy, a pain relief method, targets areas of touch sensitivity. By stimulating the skin in those spots, it helps to block pain signals both on the surface and deeper inside, breaking the cycle of pain and muscle spasms.


The Procedure:

  1. Preparation: The injection sites are cleaned and prepped. Sometimes, a light sedative is needed to minimize discomfort.

  2. Injection: Using fine needles, the veterinarian administers the therapeutic substances into the mesoderm until a visible bleb is seen under the skin.

  3. Post-Treatment Care: The horse may need rest and observation to monitor any immediate reactions. Follow-up treatments might be scheduled based on the condition’s response.


Application in Equine Medicine

In equine medicine, mesotherapy is used to treat a variety of conditions, particularly those involving pain and inflammation. The procedure typically involves injecting anti-inflammatory medications, local anesthetics, or other therapeutic agents into specific areas of the horse's body.


Common Uses:

Dr. Colleen O'Leary uses this as part of her rehabilitation protocol dorsal overriding spinous processes (kissing spine) for managing muscle pain. Mesotherapy is included in our 8 week treatment package for kissing spine, along with chiropractic care, and at home phyisical rehabilitation exercise



Mesotheapy application along the patient's back

Science Based Medicine

There is research indicating that mesotherapy can be effective in certain conditions, including those affecting horses. While the bulk of research has historically focused on human medicine, veterinary applications, particularly in equine care, are gaining attention. Here’s an overview of some research findings and studies that highlight the efficacy of mesotherapy in equine medicine:


  • A study published in the journal Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia investigated the use of mesotherapy for managing back pain in horses. The findings suggested that mesotherapy could provide significant pain relief and improve the range of motion in affected horses

  • Another research article in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science examined the effectiveness of mesotherapy in treating horses with chronic back pain. The study concluded that mesotherapy significantly reduced pain levels and improved the horses' overall mobility and performance .


Benefits of Mesotherapy

  1. Localized Treatment: Directly targets the affected area, providing quick and effective relief.

  2. Minimized Side Effects: Reduced systemic absorption means fewer side effects compared to oral or injectable medications.

  3. Non-Invasive: Compared to surgical interventions, mesotherapy is less invasive and carries a lower risk of complications.

  4. Pain Management: Especially beneficial for managing chronic pain, improving the horse’s quality of life.


Considerations and Precautions

While mesotherapy offers many benefits, it is not suitable for every horse or condition. It’s essential to consider the following:


  1. Professional Administration: Only a qualified veterinarian should perform mesotherapy. Improper technique can cause complications.

  2. Allergic Reactions: As with any medication, there’s a risk of allergic reactions. Horses should be monitored closely after treatment.

  3. Adjunct Therapy: Mesotherapy is often part of a broader treatment plan, including physiotherapy, rest, and other medications.


Conclusion

Mesotherapy represents a promising option in the toolkit of equine veterinarians, offering targeted, effective relief for a range of painful conditions. As with any medical treatment, it’s vital to consult with a knowledgeable veterinarian to determine if mesotherapy is the right choice for your horse. By leveraging this innovative approach, we can help our equine companions live healthier, more comfortable lives.

As research and clinical experience continue to grow, mesotherapy is likely to become an even more integral part of equine medicine, paving the way for enhanced care and recovery for our beloved horses.




References:

  1. Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia: Study on mesotherapy for back pain in horses.

  2. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science: Research on chronic back pain treatment with mesotherapy.

  3. Equine Veterinary Journal: Clinical trial on mesotherapy for lameness and performance issues.

  4. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Equine Practice: Study on mesotherapy for osteoarthritis in horses.

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