Researchers Investigate Leg Bandage Pressure

The team tested how much pressure compression and standing wraps exert–and with what consistency–on horses’ legs.
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Many horse owners wouldn’t think twice about using a leg wrap or bandage to help manage a variety of problems in their horses, such as wounds, trauma, cellulitis, or edema (fluid swelling, often referred to as “stocking up” when it occurs in the lower legs). But there’s no scientific data on how much pressure bandages exert—and with what consistency—on horses’ legs.

Nathan Canada, DVM, MS, and colleagues at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine recently sought to quantify the amount of pressure both compression bandages and standing wraps exert.

For the study the researchers employed eight healthy horses and attached pressure sensors to the front, middle area of the cannon bone, and to the outside (over the suspensory ligament) of each horse’s leg. They tested a compression bandage and a standing wrap on each horse, and the same researcher applied all the bandages. Compression bandages consisted of cotton padding overlaid by rolled brown gauze and self-adherent wrap. Standing wraps were no-bow wraps overlaid by a cloth wrap.

The research team examined pressure distribution, change in pressure for each bandage type over 24 hours, and change in pressure of the compression bandage over 96 hours

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Nettie Liburt, MS, PhD, PAS, is an equine nutritionist based on Long Island, New York. She is a graduate of Rutgers University, where she studied equine exercise physiology and nutrition. Liburt is a member of the Equine Science Society.

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