How Compression Bandages Could Help Horse Nerve Blocks

When veterinarians applied a compression bandage to the horse’s pastern before administering a palmar digital nerve block, the drugs remained localized to the hoof rather than spreading further up into the leg.
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horse nerve blocks
By injecting anesthetics to numb a specific spot, veterinarians can often localize the painful area and prescribe appropriate treatment. | Photo: Stephanie L. Church/The Horse

Nerve blocks can be invaluable diagnostic tools for veterinarians working on equine lameness cases. By injecting anesthetics to numb a specific spot, they can often localize the painful area and prescribe appropriate treatment.

However, previous research has shown that, after injection, the anesthetics can seep away from the injection site and numb more of the area—and potentially more internal structures—than intended. This can result in a less precise diagnosis because a larger area than expected is desensitized, said Stine Jacobsen, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECVS, a professor at the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, in Denmark.

The good news is Jacobsen and colleagues recently found a way to keep the anesthetic closer to where the practitioner wants it: Applying a compression bandage before injections can help prevent anesthetic diffusion during palmar digital nerve blocks, which veterinarians use to numb the hoof’s internal structures

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Written by:

Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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