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contraindications to musculoskeletal therapy

Unfortunately, there are some situations where manual therapy is not appropriate.  Please check the list to the right to see if any of the points apply to your horse as I won't be able to work on them until they are no longer contraindicated.

Contraindications Equine Massage
  • Horse is wet (if your horse is turned out and there is risk of rain, please put an appropriate weight rug/sheet on to keep him/her dry leading up to their session)

  • Horse has had a hard feed (2 hours need to be allowed after hard feed before massage, and another 2 hours after the session before any further hard feed. Hay is fine). This must be adhered to otherwise there is a risk that massage will divert blood flow away from the digestive system, increasing the risk of colic.

  • Horse is in a state of shock or exhaustion

  • Horse has just worked (he/she will need sufficient time to return to a state of homeostasis/normal vital signs)

  • Bacterial infections present such as abscesses

  • Viral infections present

  • Skin conditions/pathologies (sarcoids, tumours, ringworm). Areas that are free of such conditions may be worked on with caution

  • Horse is sweating

  • Horse is overtly lame and hasn't been assessed by a vet

  • Horse has a fever (they will need complete rest and covering with a blanket to avoid a chill - massage will make the situation worse by stimulating further blood flow)

  • Horse is dehydrated

  • Signs of colic are present

  • Horse is in the early or late stages of pregnancy

  • Contagious conditions present in the yard (strangles, Equine Herpes Virus etc)

  • Acute inflammation from injury is present

  • Acute trauma such as torn muscle or internal bleeding

  • If diarrhoea is present

  • Horse has functional neurological condition 

  • Broken/bleeding skin - if this can be avoided, massage may still take place if bleeding is minor

Image credit: Wal_172619/Pixabay

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