In August 2021, a friend’s two-month-old foal injured a leg badly. The wound was so deep that it reached the bone. The accident happened in a field when low-flying aeroplanes frightened the foal and she ran into a wire on a fence put up to protect from predators.
The foal was immediately taken to a veterinary clinic where it was anesthetized, the wound cleaned and sutured. At the outset, the vet warned that the stitches might not last because the wound had been torn upwards and loose skin would be hard to get attached.
The foal survived the acute phase with antibiotics and painkillers, but the wound was as the vet had suspected: the stitches did not last and were all taken out. The proud flesh was also removed and the wound was treated as an open wound.
After the accident, the foal came to my care because we have good conditions in our stable and experience in treating wounds. I started treating the open wound by rinsing it with water, applying an ointment that contains a mixture of glycerol, sulpha and zinc, and changing the dressing daily.
When the foal had been in my care for a couple of weeks, I rented a Theralux Touch laser therapy device. I treated the open wound with the laser device for a total of four weeks in August-September. I gave laser therapy roughly four days a week when I was at home. My work determined the treatment intervals, because I travel on business a couple of days a week.
The laser therapy was easy to start because there was no need to figure out the appropriate dose, thanks to the wound treatment program in Theralux Touch. The therapeutic dose was four joules per 10 square cm and it took six minutes to administer. I treated two different areas of the open wound each time.
I pointed the laser device directly at the wound so that the treatment head was at a couple of cm distance from the open wound. I bypassed the IR distance sensor on the laser device by holding my finger between the four lasers on the treatment head. It was hard to get the lasers to start when they were not in contact with the skin. I learned later that I could have adjusted the sensitivity of the IR distance sensor or bypassed it in the new version of the Theralux Touch app.
During the first appointments, the vet had wondered whether there was any point in treating the foal in the first place. The wound was so severe that the treatment process would be long and have minimal healing chances. After the laser treatment had started, the same vet was amazed and asked what I had done to the wound as it had begun to heal so well.
After four weeks of laser therapy, the wound had started to close, it was drier, and there was less proud flesh. I am sure that laser therapy accelerated the healing process by several weeks. The foal did not need surgery to remove excess tissue and we avoided the risk of the open wound becoming inflamed or never healing.
When the foal came to stay with us, she was so young that she did not even have a name. I started calling her Maisa. It was obvious during the laser therapy that Maisa liked the treatment and the laser energy did her good. Her body language showed it clearly: Maisa is usually a wild one, but she stood absolutely still during the treatment.
I am convinced that laser therapy helped save Maisa. The therapy continues and the wound is still healing. Still, it will eventually heal entirely and Maisa will grow into a healthy horse and hopefully, we will see her competing on trotting racetracks.
The author, horse owner Titta Jämsä, works as a Customer Relationship Manager at Atria Plc on mother cow and beef cattle farms. Titta rented a Theralux Touch (904) laser therapy device from Hevostaito Akatemia.
Theralux tip: Laser therapy accelerates wound healing through cell stimulation. The body begins to heal more effectively as the laser energy stimulates the chemical processes within the body. Blood circulation increases, swelling decreases, and the formation of collagen, necessary for the epithelium of the body to close the wound, is accelerated.