AAEP Health Coverage: Pneumatic Compression Therapy Device for Horses 

At the 2023 AAEP Convention, Dr. Seabaugh described a study examining the use of a pneumatic compression device to treat swollen limbs.
EQ Press pneumatic compression device on a horse
The pneumatic compression device accelerated lymphatic flow in the six horses in the study. | Koch et al. 2023, American Journal of Veterinary Research

At the Kester News Hour during the 2023 AAEP Convention, Katie Seabaugh, DVM, MS, DACVS, DAVCSMR, discussed a report on the use of a pneumatic compression therapy device on lymphatic flow as a possible new treatment for swollen limbs in horses.  

Pneumatic Compression Device Study

The study included six healthy Thoroughbreds. Each horse was treated with pneumatic compression in one limb for 60 minutes; their opposite limbs served as untreated controls. The researchers inflated the compression device in distal to proximal direction and deflated it in regular intervals. Using lymphoscintigraphy, gamma cameras took images at 5, 10, 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes. They also took images proximal to the carpus at 30, 45, and 60 minutes. 

In control limbs, it took 45-60 minutes for technetium 99 to move up from the subcutaneous injection site at the coronary band to the same level at the accessory carpal bone; with pneumatic compression, that result was achieved within 5-10 minutes. Technetium 99 did not reach the cubital lymph node by the elbow within 60 minutes in most control limbs, but it did reach this area with pneumatic compression.  

The pneumatic compression device led to a significantly accelerated lymphatic flow in the horses and might prove useful as part of a multimodal therapy for lymphangitis cases. 

Reference

Koch, DW.; Schnabel, LV.; Reynolds, J. et al. Pneumatic compression therapy using the EQ Press accelerates lymphatic flow in healthy equine forelimbs as determined by lymphoscintigraphy. Am J Vet Res 2023 Feb 21;84(4):ajvr.22.12.0214. https://doi.org/10.2460/ajvr.22.12.0214 

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