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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Jonathan Hale Foreman, DVM, MS (University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine)
Description: This is the third edition of the original book on equine rehabilitation and physical therapy written by an experienced physiotherapist and internationally recognized author and speaker. The previous editions were published in 1987 and 1993.
Purpose: The author's purpose is to, "increase the understanding of those involved with horses...of the interaction and reliance of the body systems to one another, the construction of the musculoskeletal system, the general effects of injury, and the repair processes following damage," and, "as far as they are understood, the facts about therapy machines." These worthy objectives are met for lay readers, but veterinarians may be left wanting more detail and references to the science behind the art of physiotherapy. While the author is a brilliant and experienced physiotherapist, even she must admit there is little controlled evidence-based medicine in this field.
Audience: The book is written at a level appropriate for laymen, rather than scientists or veterinarians.
Features: The initial chapters on anatomy and injury are written at a lay reader's level and will be disappointing for veterinarians. The next two chapters on therapy and rehabilitation are the reason I originally purchased the first edition over 20 years ago, and they are still valuable and irreplaceable additions to the literature. Other more recent texts also have done excellent jobs of explaining the use of physical and mechanical therapies for injury in horses. This edition is devoid of scientific references in the chapters, although there is an incomplete bibliography at the end. Some of the illustrations are helpful but others are used twice for different purposes, and there is little need to do so.
Assessment: This is still the original work on equine physical therapy and rehabilitation, and for that reason alone is worth the modest purchase price. The many therapies are well described, although the science behind them is cursorily explained and even more poorly scientifically documented. A newer book, Animal Physiotherapy: Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Animals, McGowan et al. (Blackwell Publishing, 2007) represents a much more detailed effort to explain and document the scientific basis for many of the therapies used in animal physiotherapy.