On Monday Freedom had his SI joints injected. If you have a phobia of needles this is not a procedure that you want to watch. The needle the vet used was 8″ long! The vets used ultrasound to guide the placement of the needle. He had both sides injected, although the right was much more sensitive than the left. This might explain his reluctance to pick up/hold the left lead canter.
SI joint problems are very difficult to diagnose as the symptoms can be subtle. I originally called the vet for a lameness exam because he was so uncomfortable picking up the canter, but eventually, he started feeling uncomfortable even at the trot. He felt uncoordinated. When the vet palpated his back, he noticeably flinched.
The second part of his treatment was mesotherapy. This involves injecting the vet’s “secret sauce” using small needles that penetrate shallowly into the interdermal layer of the skin that stimulates the mesoderm (the middle layer of the skin). Mesotherapy is a more recent addition to treatments here in the US but has been used extensively in France for more than 30 years. Mesotherapy helps stop the pain spasm cycle, so for a horse like Freedom, who had pain from the SI joint, it can help relax the muscles in conjunction with the joint injection.
Mesotherapy has been used in veterinary practices, in the United States, to treat horses since 2002, but was originally developed in France in 1952 to treat human patients. Mesotherapy acts to stimulate the mesoderm, the middle layer of the skin. This can relieve a wide variety of ailments. The principle is based on the theory of gait control of pain that originates from the dorsal horn of the spinal cord.
Did it work? I’ll find out in a few days. He needs to have five days off before I can start him back with a light hack. Stay tuned!