Sports Medicine Center
Concept of the Sports Medicine Center
Dr. Rhoads has been working with equine athletes for over 20 years. As the field of equine sports medicine has progressed, Dr. Rhoads has seen the need for long term therapeutic options following injury in a controlled, veterinarian supervised environment. This need became intimately apparent after an injury to his great reining mare Mega Maggie Mae sidelined her for part of her 3 year old year. “I was frustrated by what I could offer in the form of rehabilitation after diagnosing an injury to her elbow, and I was so attached to this mare that I did not want to leave her in the hands of anyone else, particularly where there was no veterinary supervision. I had been thinking of building something at my clinic for some time, but it took an injury to my own horse to finally pull the trigger. The equine industry has been very good to me over the years, so this is a way I can give something back, and provide better outcomes for some of the injuries that equine athletes suffer” Dr. Rhoads’ vision of a sports medicine center working in conjunction with a veterinary hospital became a reality in 2016.
Regenerative Laser Therapy
Premier Equine Veterinary Services and Sports Medicine Center is now offering regenerative laser therapy. The RLT laser is a class 4 laser specifically designed for use in equine veterinary medicine.
The therapy is useful for a variety of orthopedic conditions, particularly tendon, ligament, and joint disorders. This therapy can be used alone as well as with other regenerative techniques such as stem cell therapy, PRP, IRAP, and shock wave. It is particularly useful when combined with a proper rehabilitation program.
Specific protocols are designed for each case, and is dependent on the size and chronicity of the injury, as well as the condition and use of the horse.
We are very excited to implement this therapy into our rehabilitative and recovery programs. More information can be obtained at www.rltformyhorse.com
The water treadmill is a diverse tool used in rehabilitating certain injuries and conditioning. The treadmill allows the horse to exercise at a variable speed and depth of water, and can also be used without water. Adjusting the level of the water has many advantages, depending on what the goals are. The water can be placed at the level of the shoulder to maximize buoyancy and minimize stress on the limbs. Lower water levels can optimize joint mobility depending on which joints are in question. Research has shown that horses walking in a water treadmill will have the greatest range of motion when the water level is placed just above that joint. An added feature of the treadmill is the incline option, allowing the treadmill to be inclined to up to 6 degrees for added intensity of the workout.
At Premier Equine Veterinary Services and Sports Medicine Center, the water treadmill is recessed within a pit, allowing the actual treadmill to be at ground level. This eliminates the entry and exit ramps, which can add to the horse’s anxiety and increase the chance of injury. Other unique features to the treadmill include a state of the art filtration system for the water and clear, shatterproof doors and sidewalls allowing us to monitor limb and joint position during the treatment.
This safe, controlled form of exercise is a perfect way to help strengthen tissues during healing, as well as provide an excellent means of conditioning the equine athlete. Premier Equine develops specific protocols combining this exercise with other modalities for each unique case and injury.
The Relax is a unique machine incorporating whole body vibration and 3 dimensional movement, together with a solarium. Whole body vibration can increase circulation in the limbs, thereby aiding in recovery of injuries. It can also be used to help maintain or increase bone density. The 3 dimensional movement of the plate requires the horse to utilize its core muscles to maintain balance during the therapy. By combining whole body vibration with the 3 dimensional motion, we are trying to maintain the musculoskeletal system better in injured horses that cannot be exercised normally. The solarium offers infrared light over the horse’s neck and back for increased circulation and muscle relaxation in these areas.
Premier Equine Veterinary Services and Sports Medicine Center utilizes this technology in cases that cannot be exercised normally, have back and neck problems, as well as after intense exercise or competitions where relaxation and recovery of the musculoskeletal system is desired.
Cold Salt Water Hydrotherapy
The cold salt water “spa” combines the therapies of ice water, saltwater, and aeration to help reduce inflammation and swelling in tissues. The spa keeps the water just above freezing, and the salt provides an osmotic effect to help reduce swelling. Using aeration provides a gentle “massaging” action on the tissues to further aid with inflammation. The spa allows you to adjust the depth of the water, depending on the area of concern.
Premier Equine Veterinary Services and Sports Medicine Center is utilizing the spa in both acute and chronic injuries, as well as preventatively post training. It is our opinion that simultaneously treating all 4 limbs creates a better systemic anti-inflammatory effect as opposed to icing a single leg.
Premier Equine Veterinary Services and Sports Medicine Center is utilizing a “free” or panel walker allowing horses to exercise without being tied off to anything. The walker is completely programmable and reversible, allowing us to utilize a unique exercise program to suit each individual.
The walker has the largest diameter so that tight turns are avoided, and the footing is maintained at optimal depth and moisture. We feel that daily exercise, even if at a slow walk, is important for the recovery of most equine injuries.
Premier Equine Veterinary Services and Sports Medicine Center utilizes a digital scale to monitor the progress of conditioning programs and track trends in rehabilitation situations. An accurate weight is also essential for dosing medications correctly.
Other features of the Sports Medicine Center:
LED lighting throughout. Lighting in the stall area is on a timer ensuring the proper amount of ambient light for the show and breeding animal.
Ventilation: 4 low speed, high volume fans circulate overhead. Six of the stalls on the south side have 10 foot overhead doors allowing a massive amount of airflow in hot weather. Additionally the stall area is fully insulated for protection against cold in the winter and hot in the summer.
Stall safety: all stalls have block solid dividers with complete mesh stall fronts. This allows efficient and unobstructed monitoring of each patient. The solid dividers prevent nose to nose contact with neighboring horses. Each stall has a concrete floor and drain, with a pour in rubber floor. This allows complete disinfection of stalls between patient stays.
Show horse management: our staff is thoroughly trained in the maintenance of show animals, including daily grooming, mane and tail care, and blanketing.
All diets are customized to the individual. Premier Equine Veterinary Services and Sports Medicine Center utilizes the best quality forage and feeds to suit each horse’s needs. Equine specific nutritional software can be utilized to completely customize the diet based on each horse’s nutritional requirements. Forage is fed out of slow feeder bags, which allow the horse to “graze” the forage at all times. This mimics the more natural environment of the horse and makes for a healthier gastrointestinal tract. All long term recovery cases are supplemented with Platinum CJ and Platinum Osteon, which optimizes the nutritional requirements of the musculoskeletal system.
Access to experts in all fields
At Premier Equine Veterinary Services and Sports Medicine Center, we strive to treat each horse as a whole. This means not just concentrating on a single injury, but rehabilitating the entire animal. In order to accomplish this, we have assembled an advisory team of experts in the following fields:
- Podietry (farriery)