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drccasey
drccasey, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 40
Experience:  Auburn University 2003 DVM; own a full service equine ambulatory clinic
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why do you blister a horse

Customer Question

why do you blister a horse
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  drccasey replied 5 years ago.
Hello,Customer Hope everything is going well with you.

When people speak of blistering horses, they are talking about injecting a chemical irritant over the medial patellar ligament of the stifle.

This is done for horses that are "locking up" in their stifle. The thought behind the blistering is that the irritant will cause enough of an inflammatory reaction in and around the ligament which will make the ligament thicker and prevent the ligament from getting stuck and "locking up" the stifle.

I hope that has answered your question. If not, just let me know, and I can get into more anatomic detail if you would like. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I guess what I wanted to hear is that it is, or is not, a recommended procedure also you mention injection and my context or understanding is that the front legs are wrapped after applying some sort of ointment or chemical that burns or blisters the shin
Expert:  drccasey replied 5 years ago.
Hello,Customer

From your first post, I assumed that you were asking about blistering the stifles--in my type of practice--performance horses--that is what we are referring to when we talk of blistering.

I believe what you are referring to is blistering that is most commonly done in racehorses. I'll be honest--I am not a racehorse vet and you would probably get a better answer from a racehorse vet. In saying that, the method is essentially the same--injection or application of a chemical irritant over the affected area--most often an injured tendon. The thought is that the inflammatory reaction brought about by the "blistering" will help the area heal. I have never blistered a tendon and I feel that there are other methods out there--IRAP, PRP, shockwave therapy, etc.--that are better treatments.

I know that blistering of tendons is still done, but I would recommend other modes of treatment that I have listed above.
drccasey, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 40
Experience: Auburn University 2003 DVM; own a full service equine ambulatory clinic
drccasey and 2 other Horse Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  drccasey replied 5 years ago.
Hi,Customer Just wanted to add a comment to the previous post.

The blistering causes a huge inflammatory reaction that prevents the horse from being used for several months and is therefore rested for several months. Many vets feel that the healing of the tendon or ligament is from the rest the horse receives and not from the blistering itself.

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