Nearly 33% of all racehorses and sport horses will suffer from lameness, or an abnormal gait or stance that is the result of dysfunction of the horse’s locomotor system. It is most commonly observed as a result of injuries to the lower limb involving the fetlock joint and often results in both severe pain and trauma to the horse. It is one of the costliest health problems for the equine industry, both monetarily for the cost of diagnosis and treatment in addition to the time off resulting in loss-of-use. According to the National Animal Health Monitoring System, USDA Equine Economics, equine lameness costs the U.S. industry an estimated $2 billion per year and often results in premature retirements and deaths. In fact, in any given week, two dozen horses are euthanized at U.S. racetracks alone.
Despite the prevalence and gravity of the problem, there are currently no viable, time-effective solutions in the market that either prevent lameness or actively help in the rehabilitative process. Instead, the current state of the industry is to use a variety of splints, boots, wraps and bandages to help the rehabilitation process. However, there has been no scientific evidence to suggest that any of the existing solutions actually improve recovery time. Consequently, veterinarians, owners, trainers, riders, and horse lovers alike – including some of the most passionate individuals – are looking for a solution to keep their horses sound.
Horsepower Technologies™ will significantly reduce the emotional and financial impact of equine lameness for the horse owner, and the economic impact on stakeholders within the equine industry. The Company’s FastTrack™ product and protocol will directly address the 33% of horses that will become lame and require treatment. As a result, they will undergo earlier mobilization and faster rehabilitation, culminating in an accelerated recovery. There is ample scientific evidence to support this theory:
- Early mobilization post-injury has many benefits which include increasing blood flow and lymphatic flow to promote healing, stimulating tissue repair for faster healing, limiting the extent of connective tissue fibrosis, while preserving range of motion1. An American Association of Equine Practitioners study concluded that early mobilization produced a 60% improvement in tendon Type 1 Collagen disposition (evidence of healing) along with a 20% improvement in range of motion and the ability for an injured tendon to handle ground reaction forces2.
- Mobilization limits fibrosis (scarring) of connective tissues, preserves joint range of motion, and improves neuromuscular coordination.
- Exercise is successful because repetitive loading is needed to induce remodeling of the injured distal cannon bone3.
- In a study of 230 cases of suspensory ligament desmitis, 68% of horses managed by controlled exercise were able to return to their intended use, whereas only about half the horses managed by 3 months of stall confinement followed by pasture were able to do so. The study also showed that controlled exercise results in a 35% improvement4.
- Pain can cause horses to change their walk, trot, or canter, and result in countless other injuries. The biomechanical changes that the horse makes as a result of pain can cause even more pain, strains, stress fractures and other injuries far away from the site of the original problem. FastTrack™ supports and balances extra load stress to the opposite leg.
- Typical lameness injuries associated with active, and likely fatigued horses can be prevented with Horsepower Technologies™ product line, as it supports the fetlock joint to avoid hyperextension of the fetlock. If left unaddressed, it can lead to injurious stresses and strains on the ligaments and tendons. The product also protects against external trauma, all without affecting the normal range of motion.
Horsepower Technologies has presented our scientific findings at numerous conferences and symposia such as:
- American College of Veterinary Surgeons Annual Symposium (Chicago, Illinois)
- European College of Veterinary Surgeons Annual Symposium (Barcelona, Spain)
- 48th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (San Antonio, Texas)
- European College of Veterinary Surgeons Annual Symposium (Berlin, Germany)
- 50th Annual American College of Veterinary Surgeons Surgery Summit (Nashville, Tennessee)
- 40th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics (Raleigh, NC)
- 25th European College of Veterinary Surgeons Annual Scientific Meeting (Lisbon, Portugal)
Based upon this pioneering research, Horsepower Technologies has developed an innovative and revolutionary product line of equine orthotics to address lameness rehabilitation and prevention in active horses. Along with testing conducted at the Cummings Institute of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and defended by a portfolio of utility patents and patents-pending, the Company plans to commercialize its first product FastTrack™.
FastTrack™ is a revolutionary equine rehabilitative orthotic that enables early mobilization with out-of-the-stall load-bearing exercise for lame horses. As noted, research has repeatedly demonstrated that early mobilization and moderate exercise promote faster rehabilitation and a more complete recovery with less chance of re-injury. Consequently, one of the key technologies in FastTrack™ is an adjustable range of motion stop known as the SafeStop™. Made of high-grade Titanium commonly found in human implants, aircraft, and many other products, SafeStop™ limits the maximum permissible angle of the horse’s fetlock joint, thereby significantly reducing strain to the injured tendons and preventing re-injury. Additionally, the aircraft-grade aluminum FastTrack™ legwear off-loads the injured joint, reduces the pain and accelerates the overall healing process. As the horse’s health improves, a greater range of motion can be allowed via an easy and intuitive re-setting of the SafeStop™ angle, thus allowing the tendons to gradually adjust to an increased load. This approach prevents re-injury from excessively stressing the tendons too soon in the healing process. Rather than being stall-bound, horses can now walk, trot, or canter during their recovery phase while wearing the device. FastTrack™ has also been designed with the horse’s health and comfort in mind. FastTrack™ incorporates an innovative heat formable padding which provides a snug, supportive fit while allowing natural motion of the lower limb. FastTrack™ has been rigorously tested both in the lab and on six horses at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and is currently in advanced commercialization testing. The product has been designed to be used on any horse, regardless of equine discipline, breed, age or level of performance.
While the value of Horsepower Technologies’ product line can be quantified both scientifically and economically, perhaps the greatest value proposition that the Company provides is emotional. We expect both horse and owner to feel materially better mentally and physically with earlier proactive exercise.
(1) "Review of Early Mobilization of Muscle, Tendon, and Ligament After Injury in Equine Rehabilitation," (Sheila Schils et al. published by American Association of Equine Practitioners in 2010)
(2) Nancy Loving 2010 AAEP Lameness Soft Tissue.
(3) Larson E, Stress Remodeling: Is pasture Rest the Best Treatment? 2011 #27478 The HORSE: study done by Travis M. Tull DVM, Rood & Riddle
(4) Gillis CL, Meagher DM, Balesdent A. Suspensory ligament desmitis and associated fractures, in Proceedings. 40thAnnu Conv Am Assoc Equine Practnr 1994;187–188.