It astonishes me how our communication methodology has changed over the years. We use to say: “we need to put pen to paper” and now it’s “put your thoughts to the keyboard!” Since July was an amazing month, both a high and a low, I felt the need to share these experiences, so I sit at the keyword to get the word out.
THE CRITICAL MESSAGE EVERYONE NEEDS TO HEAR
The best way to manage chronic progress lymphedema (CPL) or chronic swelling disorder (which I refer to as equine lymphedema) is one word… Education! The first line of defense is understanding what you are managing.
You can’t manage something you don’t understand and trying without the knowledge can be very dangerous! Anyone who has faced this challenging and worrisome condition knows firsthand the turmoil and upheaval it causes.
Whether you are a horse owner or equine professional, this is one tool you should have in your toolbox! The best part… You don’t have to worry about where you left your tools because they are your hands!
WHAT IS MANUAL LYMPH DRAINAGE?
Equine manual lymph drainage (MLD) is a gentle technique that facilitates the movement of lymph by utilizing your hands as a pump. Lymph is a colorless fluid that contains white blood cells, and bathes the tissues and drains through the lymphatic system into the bloodstream.
The lymph system is the body’s garbage disposal system via urination. It collects such things as metabolic waste including high protein cells (which destroys sensitive tissue) cancer cells, dead cells, etc. The lymph system is like a sophisticated highway system.
For example, if you are on a congested highway, traffic slows down. If the roads are impaired or destroyed, regardless of the reason, you need to find a detour around the area.
When this sophisticated system is impaired, it can’t move the lymph efficiently. The lymphatic system begins to back up which is recognized by swelling (edema). This high protein issue is implicated in human coronary disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.
If the lymphatic (vessels) are impaired, it can’t move lymph efficiently or eliminate it properly. It leaves a trail of destruction which compromises other systems and can potentially cause death. The longer it remains in the lymphatic system, the more damage it causes.
It also stresses other interdependent systems, such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal. You need to know the map of the highway system so you can manually redirect the congested lymph to an area that is not congested. That way it can be eliminated through the proper elimination channels. In other words, you need a detour.
MY AMAZING JULY
I’ll remember this for a long time to come!
Barney: Draft Horse from Tripoli, Pa
Barney is a draft horse with CPL. His leg continued to increase in size and was enormous. Sheila, an equine massage therapist, is his caretaker at a rescue. She took HEAL’s MLD class over a July weekend and the following Monday applied the skills she acquired.
On Tuesday his leg was considerably reduced in size and he was walking almost normal. With continued care from Sheila, Barney’s leg continues to remain consistent with no increase in size.
LIBERTY & GALAXY: QUARTER HORSES FROM VALLEY VIEW TEXAS
Liberty has had chronic swelling under the jaw for the last two years and the swelling under her jaw was firm. The swelling continued to impact her ability to graze properly and she had edema in her face. This horse was miserable!
Her owner, LouAnne, took our MLD course. Within the first thirty minutes, this horse was clearing her nasal passage. She blew her nose 16 times and I was covered with horse snot and specs of blood.
She began to drain via her left nostril for 3 days non-stop. This continued on and off the following week. While I was there, a friend came by and observed Liberty grazing in the field. She was excited and surprised to see her grazing.
We could not wrap her face but we found a workaround using Kinesio tape with foam which softened the firmness under her jaw. This enabled her to be able to graze again. MLD will keep the lymph flowing in the right direction and help eliminate the congestion in her face.
Galaxy had a mast tumor removed from her neck and developed scar tissue around the incision. MLD is instrumental in softening up and reducing scar tissue. Within 2 short days, we could see the scar tissue reduce in size and could feel it softening.
Equine MLD has numerous applications and LouAnne is equipped with both the knowledge and skill to handle Liberty and Galaxy.
BOB: BELGIAN DRAFT HORSE FROM HORSE WORKS RANCH & RESCUE IN POOLVILLE, TEXAS
Bob is owned by Steve Isenhour. Bob has CPL and no one had been able to touch his leg. In fact, if you even approached his right hind leg, he would kick out, and Bob is one big boy! LouAnne is located about 50 minutes from the rescue and she had never seen a horse with CPL.
I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to educate her on what draft horses experience. When LouAnne and I arrived, he was running around like a maniac, but Steve was finally able to catch him! I think Bob got tired carrying around that big leg and Steve was able to halter him up.
I started MLD on the left side and by the time I got to the right side he was leaning into me. At one point he turned and looked at me as if to say, “Please continue… This feels so good!”
That was a turning point for Bob. My only regret is we didn’t video the session! I would have liked to capture the experience and share it with you.
NOW FOR THE LOSS
Wyatt: Quarter Horse from Barnesville, GA
Katie, a riding instructor, from Georgia was learning to manage and care for a quarter horse, named Wyatt, who had a chronic swelling disorder, or equine lymphedema.
Katie was in the process of taking the Horse Owner’s Pilot Program and was learning the head massage sequence. Unfortunately, Wyatt went into a colic episode. The vet and Katie worked 10+ plus hours but were unable to bring him out of the colic and he was, eventually, humanely euthanized.
Wyatt’s owners, Kristi and her daughter Caroline, age 15, were dedicated to this horse and his rehabilitation from this disorder. The relationship between colic and chronic progress lymphedema is not well understood.
2019 SUMMER SHEATH CLEANING INQUIRIES
This summer we have received more inquiries about swollen sheaths than ever before! While teaching the MLD course in June, we worked on a horse named Major, who had a swollen sheath.
Students had the opportunity to practice MLD on him and witness the amazing impact of MLD. By the next morning, his sheath was reduced in size and continued to diminish in size for the next week.
He was featured in our June 2019 Newsletter. Learning where and how to move edema from a swollen sheath is a skill any owner or professional can learn.
That is it for July! Thank you to everyone that has followed this amazing journey. For more information on becoming a professional MLD massage therapist, please visit our website at www.healequine.com