Tendons and ligaments are made of up of a network of dense elastic tissue. This connective tissue is rich in a protein called collagen and the fibers of collagen run lengthwise through the tendons. Collagen is the main structural protein found in skin and other connective tissues of the body. These fibers stretch like a rubber band, taking the load when weight is put on the leg. When weight is released, like a rubber band, the fibers bounce back to the relaxed position. If the tendon or ligament is overloaded, the fibers can stretch beyond their limit and even tear. Damage can be instant, or it can build up over a period of time as the repetitive movement continues to keep the fibers pulled apart.
A horse with a torn tendon will likely be lame on the affected leg. This is most typically accompanied by swelling and heat, and may also be sore if palpated. To determine if the injury is a strain, sprain, or a tear, an ultrasound is necessary.
Tendons and ligaments have poor blood supplies and thus the injuries heal very slowly. A tear in a tendon will show up as a “gap” between tendon fibers, which may have been pulled apart completely. The formation of adhesions and fibroids will grow in between these fibers, creating scar tissue and less elasticity. This can happen very quickly due to inflammation. If the adhesions and fibroids form, the tendon fibers cannot connect properly, increasing the risk for re-injury. The outcome for horses with torn tendons, with Western medicine, is very poor in most cases.
Dr. Thomas with For Love of the Horse has created a Torn Tendon formula that will work to immediately suppress inflammation and increase healthy circulation to the site of the injury. There is an herbal group within this formula that will repair torn tendons and ligaments to a point in which there is real, factual connection over time. This is possible because it eliminates the formation of the fibroids and adhesions that create scar tissue, so that the tendon fibers can properly connect. It works also, to create and maintain strong and flexible tendons and ligaments, which is certainly needed when there is an injury so severe that there is separation. http://www.forloveofthehorse.com/torn-tendon.php For Love of the Horse recommends beginning with an augmented dosage during the initial stages of recovery in order to make recovery as fast as possible. This augmented dosage should not be dropped too slowly, as it is imperative to treat a tear rather aggressively in order to ensure a full recovery.
A severe tear will obviously take longer than a mild one, and an older horse will likely heal more slowly than a younger one. In most cases stall rest is recommended, but that does tend to be extremely stressful on the horse and the owner. Minimizing abrupt movement and running is necessary, but slow hand walking and “quiet” turnout will help the horse mentally and physically. It is recommended to keep the injured leg wrapped with a standing leg wrap and polo bandage for support, and wrapping the supporting leg is also recommended, as it is taking more weight and stress. Having an ultrasound performed at 3 to 6-week intervals will allow you to keep a close eye on the progress in case any necessary adjustments need to be made to the recovery protocol.
This success story is just one of many and will show the progression of recovery: https://www.forloveofthehorse.com/success_robin_williams_torn_tendon.php