One of the newest areas of focus for our practice is the sports medicine rehabilitation of our equine athletes. Furlong’s Soundness Center, our equine rehabilitation center, is conveniently located across the street from our main clinic in Oldwick, New Jersey. This state-of-the-art facility allows us to provide the highest quality of individualized care to every patient. Our team of doctors and technicians utilize a multi-modal approach to promote healing, with such technologies as the dry and water treadmills, saltwater hydrotherapy spa, and regenerative laser therapy in conjunction with physiotherapy and complementary medical techniques. The Soundness Center is equipped with with Horse Gym USA ® machines, which allow us to design a controlled exercise and rehabilitation program for each horse that comes through our facility.
The dry treadmill stimulates healing tissues to repair in the face of gentle exercise, which is necessary to improve full functionality and reduce future incidence of re-injury. However, this must be performed in a highly controlled manner, with our patients maintaining straightness and symmetry, so as not to stress the tissues into further injury. The variable speed and incline settings of our treadmill also allow us to customize workouts for each horse as they progress through their program, with the ability to add in core and back strengthening components. Additionally, as each horse’s rehabilitation program allows, the water treadmill may be added to increase the intensity of each workout without the stress of increasing speed. The water provides resistance, increases range of motion of joints, and improves joint flexibility. Added benefits of the water treadmill include increasing horse’s cardiovascular fitness and improving their topline and core strength.
Another popular service used at our practice is the saltwater hydrotherapy spa – a small pool that fills with cold saltwater – which is primarily used for lower leg injuries. The water is kept cold for numerous reasons, including providing a source of topical analgesia (pain control) and reduction of fluid accumulation in the limb. The saltwater draws out inflammation from the injured sites and has a natural healing effect on wounds, and the aeration of the water massages the limbs.
One of our most exciting technologies is the regenerative laser therapy, or high intensity laser therapy. This laser allows for high power outputs of deep penetrating energy to be applied to injuries without the risk of damaging superficial tissues. The wavelength of the laser can be optimized for specific tissue types to be treated, such as the suspensory apparatus or the digital flexor tendons. The laser also dilates blood vessels and aids in the creation of new vessels, which increases the availability of oxygen and growth factors to injured tissue and increases the energy production of cells. Furthermore, the laser that is utilized at Furlong’s Soundness Center can recruit and direct certain stem cells to orchestrate healing, which is especially important in the repair of chronic injuries and the reduction of scar tissue formation.
To be truly successful, however, a rehabilitation program must focus on the whole horse, not solely the site of an injury. For that reason a multitude of additional services – from acupuncture and chiropractic services to nutritional consultations to corrective farriery and more – are available to all of our patients for the duration of their stay at our rehabilitation center. Whether the goal is to return to the ring, the track, or the trail, at Furlong’s Soundness Center we strive to get your horse back there as quickly and safely as possible, for as long as possible.