Ozone to Treat Necroulcerative Dermatitis in Horses

Find out how veterinarians used ozone to treat a mare with complications associated with superficial digital flexor tendinitis.

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ozone to treat necroulcerative dermatitis in horses
Figure 1A (inset) and Figure 1B (large photos) | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Raquel Y.A. Baccarin

By Raquel Y.A. Baccarin, DVM, PhD, WEVA Regional Ambassador for Brazil and South America

Ozone therapy refers to administering medical ozone—a mixture of O2 and O3, composed of no less than 95% O2 and no more than 5% O3. Although medical ozone is toxic at high concentrations, it has a therapeutic window ranging from concentrations of 10 to 80 µg/ml.

Doctors first used ozone (O3) in medical procedures in 1915 during World War I to prevent local infection and treat wound infections in German soldiers with post-traumatic gangrene, decubitus ulcers (bedsores or pressure ulcers), and other conditions. Since then, veterinarians have used ozone therapy in animals, including horses.

Recently, veterinarians used ozone to treat a mare with complications associated with superficial digital flexor tendinitis (SDFT), a common sport horse injury. In most clinical cases, swelling of the metacarpal or metatarsal (front and hind cannon bones, respectively) area due to tendon injuries is visible and palpable (Figure 1A, above left). Immediate SDFT treatment is aimed at reducing inflammation and edema (swelling), usually using a combination of local and systemic treatments such as cold hydrotherapy, ice packs, ice-water slurry, topical medications, and pressure bandaging. The combination of the cold application and pressure bandaging should be performed carefully to avoid ice burn or irreversible damage due to ischemia (lack of blood supply)

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