Equine distal limbs have evolved to have long tendons coupled with strong, tendinous muscles positioned proximally on the leg, thus enabling the horse to achieve highly efficient locomotion. The tradeoff is, that the tendons are left unprotected and prone to injuries, therefore they are often protected by various boots and bandages, which may insulate the limbs and cause hyperthermia in the underlying tendons. The actual mechanism for the degeneration of tendons is currently unknown, but damaging temperature increases due to hysteresis in hardworking horses has been suggested as a possible cause. This study compared the skin temperature of the palmar/ plantar metacarpal/metatarsal regions of the limbs after exercise with various types of boots and bandages - primarily tendon boots, leather boots and fleece bandages. Several horses were measured before and after the completion of a standard exercise test. The boots or bandages were removed immediately after the exercise and the temperature was measured at 3 separate places with A Testo 850i infrared thermometer. The differences in temperature increases between the various kinds of boots were compared. The results showed a significantly higher average temperature increase in horses wearing boots or bandages compared to the bare limb. The fleece bandages seemed to accumulate the highest amount of heat, followed by the tendon boots.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
1. Back, W., Clayton, H. M., 2001: Equine Locomotion. Harcourt Publishers Ltd., London, 384 pp.
2. Baxter, K., 2013: The effect of equine exercise bandages on distal forelimb temperatures during exercise. South Downs Vet. Phys., 1-123.
3. Birch, H. L., Wilson, A. M., Goodship, A. E., 1997: The effect of exercise-induced localised hyperthermia on tendon cell survival. J. Exp. Biol., 200, 1703-1708.
4. Burrows, S., Patterson-Kane, J., Fleck, R., Becker, D., 2009: Alterations in gap junction communication in tenocyte monolayers following an episode of hyperthermia. The Bone and Joint Journal, 91-B, Supp. 2, 348.
5. Davis, J. K., Bishop, P. A., 2013: Impact of clothing on exercise in the heat. Sports Med., 43, 695-706.
6. Ely, E. R., Avella, C. S., Price, J. S., Smith, R. K., Wood, J. L., Verheyen, K. L., 2009: Descriptive epidemiology of fracture, tendon and suspensory ligament injuries in national hunt horses in training. Equine Vet. J., 41, 372-378.
7. Ely, E. R., Verheyen, L. P., Wood, J. L. N., 2004: Fractures and tendon injuries in national hunt horses in training in the UK: A pilot study. Equine Vet. J., 36, 365-367.
8. Hopegood, L., Sander, L., Ellis, A. D., 2013: The influence of boot design on exercise associated surface temperature of tendons in horses. Comp. Ex. Phys., 9, 147-152.
9. Hosaka, Y., Ozoe, S., Kirisawa, R., Ueda, H., Takehana, K., Yamaquchi, M., 2006: Effect of heat on synthesis of gelatinases and pro-inflammatory cytokines in equine tendinocytes. Biomed. Res., 27, 233-241.
10. Kelechi, T., Michel, Y., Wiserman, J., 2006: Are infrared thermistor thermometers interchangable for measuring localized skin temperature ? J. Nurs. Meas., 41, 19-30.
11. Mogg, K. C., Pollitt, C. C., 1992: Hoof and distal limb surface temperature in the normal pony under constant and changing ambient temperatures. Equine Vet. J., 24, 134-139.
12. Oikawa, M., Kasashima, Y., 2002: The japanese experiment with tendonitis in racehorses. Journal of Equine Science, 13, 41-56.
13. Smith, R. K. W., Goodship, A. E., 2008: Tendon and ligament physiology: responses to exercise and training. In Hinchcliff, K. W., Geor, R. J., Kanep A. J.: Equine Exercise Physiology, the Science of Exercise in the Athletic Horse. Elsevier Ltd, London, 106-131.
14. Westermann, S., Windsteig, V., Schramel, J. P., Peham, C., 2014: Effect of a bandage or tendon boot on skin temperature of the metacarpus at rest and after exercise in horses. Am. J. Vet. Res., 75, 375-379.
15. Williams, R. B., Harkins, L. S., Hammond, J., Wood, J. L. N., 2001: Racehorse injuries, clinical problems and fatalities recorded on British racecourses from flat racing and national hunt racing during 1996, 1997 and 1998. Equine Vet. J., 33, 478-486.
16. Wilson, A. M., Goodship, A. E., 1994: Exercise-induced hyperthermia as a possible mechanism for tendon degeneration. J. Biomechanics, 27, 899-905.