Carbon Dioxide treatment success stories

Posted by Joyce Harman on Dec 10th 2023

Carbon Dioxide treatment success stories

I am going to post some of the interesting cases I and others have seen using the  (Dioxyfin) Carbon dioxide treatments. This is an exciting treatment with many uses for some complex conditions. This treatment is being used successfully in zoo animals also, including saving some elephants with serious feet problems. Exciting stuff. 

Transdermal CO2 means that carbon dioxide is applied inside a sleeve, and the body perceives the area as having an excess of carbon dioxide so it sends oxygen. Along with the oxygen comes all the building blocks to heal the area, so the body can respond much better than normal. This is especially true in the lower legs of horses where the circulation is naturally poor.  

This case study documents the treatment of Rosie, a large draft type mare suffering from chronic bilateral collateral ligament desmopathy (ligament injury in the hoof), with Transdermal CO2 therapy. The original lameness issue was identified in September, and conservative treatments, including rest, NSAIDs, and shoeing changes, were initiated but yielded only slight and inconsistent improvements over three months. In January, Rosie's lameness reappeared and did not respond to conservative therapy, leading to an MRI diagnosis. Local Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections and Shockwave therapy were administered.

Following the MRI diagnosis, PRP injections were performed in both front legs, which initially showed positive results. However, approximately two weeks later, Rosie had an MRI-guided injection with PRP, after which she became significantly lame in the left front limb despite rest, shoeing changes, and NSAID treatment.

Transdermal CO2 (Dioxyfin) treatment was introduced in April of that year. The therapy involved placing both front feet in a plastic sleeve with a one-way valve, evacuating air from the bag, sealing it with Vetrap®, and infusing CO2 through the valve for a 20-minute session. The treatment was administered daily for five days initially and then approximately three times a week.

Prior to treatment, she had displayed a preference for standing on padded surfaces and occasionally experienced shoulder collapsing while walking, which decreased after the CO2 therapy. Additionally, her ability to trot and canter with the herd improved significantly.

The frequency of treatments played a role in Rosie's soundness. If more than three days passed between treatments, she experienced a reduction in her mobility and stride length. Despite this, by the end of May, she was sound at the walk and trot in a straight line but remained lame at the trot when circling to the left. By June, she had achieved soundness and maintained it through regular riding for quite a while.

This case presents the challenges of treating ligament and joint injuries within the foot, particularly in large draft type horses like Rosie. Their size and weight complicate the healing process, and maintaining a healthy weight without exercise is difficult. Conservative treatments showed minimal progress initially, with Rosie's lameness recurring each time.

The introduction of Dioxyfin marked a significant turning point in Rosie's recovery. It enhanced tissue oxygenation in an area known for poor circulation and slow healing responses. This therapy proved more effective than the combination of conventional treatments such as rest, NSAIDs, PRP, and shockwave therapies. Given Rosie's substantial size and the extent of her injury, the results were considered excellent.

In summary, Dioxyfin therapy applied within a plastic sleeve played a major role in improving the soundness of a horse with a chronic ligament injury. This non-toxic and easily administered treatment achieved results that had not been attainable through a combination of traditional treatments.