Soaking what ails your horse in ice cold water causes the greatest changes in tissue temperature compared to other thermal treatments. In a recent study Andris J. Kaneps, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS of The Ohio State University temporarily implanted probes just under the skin and between the superficial and deep digital flexor tendons in the metacarpal region (cannon bone area) of a horse’s leg. Kaneps tested ice water immersion, warm water hosing, and commercial hot and cold packs for their efficacy in changing tissue temperature. He presented his findings at the recent convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
Tissue temperatures for both ice water immersion and warm water therapy stabilized after ten minutes. Although commercial packs were convenient, they caused lower changes in tissue temperature, according to Kaneps.