Tape for horses

A new method in equine rehabilitation used by medical horse practitioners

The background of human medical taping (Kinesiology taping) was established in Japan and Korea in the 1970s. Currently many medical professionals are using this method in their daily work in clinic or practice all over the world with great results. Why not to use this medical taping at horses or other animals? All human medical and pharma companies have their own animal health division or work closely with an animal health partner and use their products, slightly adjusted, in different industries. Can we use tape on horses and achieve similar effects? The answer of many is YES.

Taping on horses is a relatively young treatment method and in the early phases of development, but used during already many international equine events. We expect that soon also the veterinary professionals will use this method in their daily practice, just like physiotherapists do. We are just in the early stages of this treatment for animals.

Medical taping on horses is used to assist in the treatment of:

  1. Injured muscles – the tape lifts the skin from the tissue below. This has an effect of reducing the sensation of pain and promoting circulation assisting in the reduction of any swelling and  enhancing the blood flow to the injured muscle.
  2. Biomechanical dysfunction – the horse tape provides support or stability without restricting the range of motion.
  3. Postural dysfunction – the tape improves the proprioceptive feedback to the area which assists in the retraining of the muscles that maintain the correct posture.

It doesn’t necessarily make a horse performance greater than baseline measures, but can improve endurance as the increased circulation can assist to improve the supply of oxygen to muscles and the removal of the lactic acid. It can also improve recovery time after intense training sessions or races, as the increased circulation assists in the removal of waste products.

Horse tape (medical) can be used as either a sole or an adjunctive treatment in equine therapy.  It can be used to reduce or control pain, manage swelling or oedema, increase joint range of motion and muscle function, and maintain a level of functionality and comfort for the animal throughout the rehabilitation process.

It is important to note that some horses may behaviorally react to the tape. This is due to the horse’s highly evolved proprioception mechanism that is regulated and monitored from receptors located in the muscles, tendons and joints.

Tips when you tape horses;

  • Coat must be clean and free from oils, lotions and moisture prior to application ie avoid using shampoos that have an oily composition prior to taping.
  • Coat does not have to be clipped as long as the tape sticks well to the coat. Winter coats are difficult to tape, here an extra tape spray can be used.
  • The horse needs to be at resting body temperature prior to application.
  • Measure length of VetkinTape® required, cut length and then round corners to prevent the sharp edges from catching on saddle cloth, rugs etc.
  • End-off VetkinTape® round on the coat where possible as the tape sticks better to the fur than it does to itself.
  • Activate the adhesive by rubbing the tape with your hand in the direction of the hairs, as the glue is heat activated. This is particularly important in the horse application.
  • VetkinTape® can remain on for 5-6 days. If the area VetkinTape® has been applied to starts to itch, then remove it immediately.

WHEN REMOVING VetkinTape®:

  • Be gentle, roll the horse tape off in the direction of the hairs.
  • NEVER rip the horse tape off.
  • If required the adhesive can removed from the fur with methylated spirits

Read more about VetkinTape® »