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Cryotherapy is the use of extremely cold temperature to  treat specific conditions in the horse. It is most commonly used to treat  actively inflamed splint bones and to aid in the treatment of certain skin  conditions, most frequently specific skin tumors.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is the use of extremely cold temperature to treat specific conditions in the horse. It is most commonly used to treat actively inflamed splint bones and to aid in the treatment of certain skin conditions, most frequently specific skin tumors.

In the case of an active “splint,” cold temperature decreases the metabolic activity of the cells that produce the visible bony callus on an injured splint bone. The goal is to decrease the pain and inflammation associated with the injured splint bone and to stop the growth of the bony callus.

For skin tumors, the extreme cold destroys the abnormal tissue, causing it to lose its blood supply and eventually slough. Since the cold can be applied specifically to the abnormal skin tissue, the surrounding normal skin is unaffected.

Cryotherapy utilizes liquid nitrogen, which is stored at a temperature of -321F. Treatment probes can be placed in a thermos containing the liquid nitrogen and then placed directly over the area to be treated.

Cryotherapy is very effective and side effects are uncommon. Most of the time, the hair over a treated region becomes white.