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Equine Rehabilitation Success Story: SDFT Tear

By June 10, 2023August 16th, 2023No Comments

Sherman’s Journey to Recovery: Equine SDFT Tear Rehabilitation

If you’re a horse owner, you know that caring for your equine companion can be a challenge, especially when it comes to injuries. Fortunately, with the right veterinary care and equine rehabilitation program, many horses can recover from even the most serious of injuries.

Sherman’s Equine Rehab Story

Sherman, a beloved horse of his owner, came to us with a severe tear in the Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon (SDFT) in his left foreleg. An SDFT is a common injury in sport horses, and can produce swelling, heat and sensitivity. If significant, it can result in a lack of support for the fetlock and can be very painful for the horse. In Sherman’s case, he was uncomfortable walking and had moderate swelling in the leg. The goal for Sherman was to help him reach retirement with minimal maintenance, and Dr. Iverson created a custom program to help with the equine SDFT tear rehabilitation, together with his veterinarian and farrier.

The Equine Rehabilitation Plan

Sherman was kept on stall rest and received daily laser therapy and cryotherapy sessions with the GameReady system to help reduce swelling and improve his comfort. Daily stretching and mobilization exercises were assigned to him to strengthen the tendon as it healed. As he became more comfortable, he began short hand walks to ensure that the tendon would heal with less scarring. He was closely monitored for any increase in swelling or tenderness in the tendon. The hand walking was gradually increased over time as the tendon began to heal. Sherman’s treatment plan also included laser treatment with our Class IV Veterinary laser on the affected area, alternating days with the GameReady Cryotherapy. Once he was healed fully we maintained it with a once-monthly treatment.

Horse Injury Recovery and Retired Life

After about five months of individualized treatment including stall rest, stretches, cryotherapy and laser therapy, Sherman was rechecked by his veterinarian and was able to enjoy supervised turnout in a small paddock. Over time, he was gradually reintroduced to turnout for longer periods of time in larger paddocks. 

Sherman is an excellent example of recovery from a tendon injury without the exclusive use of stall rest. Movement and conditioning are now proven to be the key to lasting results in equine rehabilitation, and is something Dr. Iverson and her team consider with each patient’s goals in mind. Sherman is now happily enjoying his retired life with his owner.

If you have a horse with a similar injury or lameness, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Iverson Equine for expert care and rehabilitation. With the right treatment plan, your horse can also recover and enjoy a comfortable, healthy life.

photo of sherman the horse