by: Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS
Using carbon dioxide (CO2) as part of a treatment? It’s true, I have been working with some folks for the last six months who are developing an interesting treatment. You have probably heard of oxygen treatments, such as ozone and hyperbaric oxygen chambers. These are effective treatments, but they use complicated equipment. The carbon dioxide setup I have been working with is a simple device easily used in a barn or a clinic setting.
How does it affect the body? To describe it simply, by adding carbon dioxide gas inside a special bag placed around a leg, the body reads that there is a lot of CO2 and sends extra oxygen to the area which is released into the injured tissue. The CO2 also signals the body to generate new blood vessels and to increase blood flow to the area. In addition, CO2 has some antioxidant properties.
Why should I be interested?
The healing effects of this treatment included any tissue that has been traumatized and needs circulation to heal. Wound healing is amazingly fast especially on the lower limbs where poor circulation and unclean conditions lead to frequent infections and long healing times. Tendon and ligament injuries are often slow to heal. Lymphangitis frequently leads to long term circulatory issues. Osteomyelitis is difficult to heal even with the best antibiotics. All of these injuries can be expensive to heal and lead to long periods off work. Transdermal CO2 is showing that it is capable of shortening the healing time significantly, and may help with arthritis. In addition, there is every reason to predict positive effects for laminitis; although, it has not yet been tested.
What’s involved with the treatment?
Our recommended standard protocol is to treat the condition every day for five days and then every other day for seven additional treatments. In some cases, such as fractures, soft tissue injuries, slow healing wounds and lesions deep within the limb, additional treatments may be necessary.
How can my horse benefit?
With this newsletter, we are trying to gauge how interested people are in this technology. The company has units available in America. The device is simple to use on horses’ lower legs and involves about 20 minutes of treatment time. As noted, the recommended standard protocol is to treat the condition every day for five days and then every other day for seven additional treatments. In some cases, such as fractures, soft tissue injuries, slow healing wounds and lesions deep within the limb, additional treatments may be necessary. Devices, carbon dioxide and covers can only be purchased by veterinarians but the vets can make the device available to owners and trainers. The vet can order supplies that will be delivered directly to the owner or trainer.
If you are interested and think your horse has a problem that could be helped, you can reply to this email with a summary of your horse’s history. I can let you know if it sounds like CO2 therapy will substantially make a difference in the healing. For small animals, most likely a local veterinarian will use it at the hospital, and you can stop by for a treatment. Any veterinarians interested in the technology can also contact the company or me for information. https://www.airjectorvet.com