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Pictured Above: All tissues in the body have cells that are negatively influenced by chronic inflammation. Photo: Tom Schell
Is there more to heat, pain and lameness than meets the eye? Is there a reason why a horse is not responding to therapies? Potentially, yes. A farrier often is the first line of defense in identifying inflammation of the distal limb, and understanding its influence is critical for proper management.
When we think of the concept of inflammation, it is often in the form of distinct pain and swelling. Joint pain, a foot abscess, tendon injury, stiffness, a wound, sore back or even a sore throat. All of these are true and these conditions are associated with inflammation, which is obvious in the form of pain. However, the concept goes much deeper, often undetected clinically, and connected with a host of conditions impacting the horse on many levels. It is an important concept to grasp, because with this knowledge we have opportunities to intervene, improving outcomes and prognoses for that patient.
The process of inflammation really can be broken down into two categories — acute and chronic. The term acute is usually reserved for situations of less than 30 days, while chronic is assigned to those more than 30 days in length. They really are not distinct from one another and in many cases, an acute condition becomes chronic over time, being more difficult to manage. In many cases of inflammation, we have five general…