Changes in Temperature of the Equine Skin Surface Under Boots after Exercise

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Abstract

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.

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