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New Horse Therapy Available At Tennessee

Equine sports medicine has entered into a new era at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. The college is now one of six veterinary facilities in the nation with hyperbaric oxygen therapy capabilities.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a therapeutic procedure designed to deliver increased concentrations of oxygen to the blood stream or directly to diseased or injured tissues. The UT Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences has received a $200,000 two-horse HBOT chamber from Equine Oxygen Therapy Acquisitions L.P. UT will be working with Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center (KESMARC) to set up protocols for clinical cases and to develop research protocols to investigate the use of HBOT in the horse.

HBOT is gaining acceptance in the medical and veterinary communities as an adjunct therapy that complements traditional treatment of a variety of acute and chronic conditions. In diseased or injured tissue, the blood supply is often compromised, and the amount of oxygen delivered is reduced, which inhibits healing. This is especially true for injuries to the limbs of large animals like horses, where the blood supply is poor even in a healthy animal.

With HBOT, the patient is placed in a chamber that delivers pure oxygen under pressure, increasing the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the blood by a factor of 15 times, depending on the pressure. By reducing tissue swelling and inflammation, HBOT enhances the repair of connective tissue and is beneficial in many training and athletic injuries.

Acute conditions that benefit from HBOT treatment include trauma, leg wounds, central nervous system damage and surgical trauma (incisions). Chronic conditions improved by HBOT treatment include large, poorly healing wounds, bone infections, internal abscesses, loss of blood supply and necrosis, foal infections and possibly laminitis.

For more information about HBOT and UT’s equine sports medicine program, contact Dr. Dennis R. Geiser, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, 2407 River Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996-4545, phone: 865-974-5703, FAX: 865-974-5773, email:

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