September 23, 2021
‘So always look further than just the tendon itself when examining tendon injuries and take time for the healing of tendon injuries,’ says Eric Laarakker (Photo: Digishots)
In surgery Den Hoek, holistic practice for animals and humans, veterinarian Eric Laarakker comes across all sorts of ailments with some cases already having exhausted all avenues of traditional treatment. He points out: ‘Den Hoek is not a traditional practice, it is a holistic practice where western and eastern (veterinary) medicine come together. The aim of this practice is not to just treat symptoms but to look for the underlying cause of a problem and to treat that instead. Appealing to the self-healing capacity of the body is an important spear point within our practice.’
Very common problem
In his practice Laarakker frequently treats horses that suffer from on-and-off tendon injuries. He gives the example of Friesian gelding Tjeerd who regularly does driven work and dressage under saddle. Tjeerd has suffered multiple tendon injuries but always in the same foreleg. ‘Tendon injuries are a very common problem in horses,’ Laarakker states. ‘Tendons have very few blood vessels which means the supply of nutrients and drainage of waste products is fairly limited, which at the same time explains why tendon injuries usually take a long time to heal.’
Most tendon injuries seen and treated by the vets at Den Hoek are caused by long-term overburdening of the horse. ‘This was also the case with Tjeerd. He had a crookedness in the back which made him overcompensate continuously. It did not cause lameness but the forelegs had to carry too much weight which put too much burden on the wrong place.’ So for Tjeerd it was key that we would find the location of the blockages in his back and treat them accordingly. In his case treatment consisted of acupuncture, chiropractic treatment and specifically-developed sound- and frequency therapy.
Every animal is unique
Every animal is unique and needs a specific approach. ‘Treatment of a tendon injury largely involves rest and proper rehabilitation. I’m not in favour of box rest unless there is no other option. Mentally and physically this is not beneficial for a horse.’ Tendon tissues heal by way of (well-balanced) exercising. Movement stimulates blood circulation and besides, frequent exercising reduces the chances of extreme movement/explosions. During the entire recovery period organic sulphur is important for good functioning of the body’s anti-inflammatory processes, Laarakker explains.
Tjeerd needed to be treated a few more times before his back was loose and straight again. ‘Now he comes in for check-ups twice a year in order to avoid worsening of the condition in the future. The tendon has healed well and he proudly trots around again. So always look further than just the tendon itself when examining tendon injuries and take time for the healing of tendon injuries.’
Read the full real-life story by veterinarian Eric Laarakker in the October issue of Phryso