Science & Equine

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Written by Marly Coppens
Posted in First Aid

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The effect of magnetic blankets on horses

Recently, the number of magnetic blankets and commercial promotions for use in horses has increased dramatically. The manufacturers claim that it can be used for prevention of diseases and to treat muscle soreness and delayed wound healing. It also claims to decrease pain, because it should increase blood flow and this has also a calming effect. 

The effects of magnets are widely investigated on human and animals, however the effects are conflicting. No previous study investigated the effect of static magnets on the back of the horse. Therefor the aim of these Swedish researchers was to investigate the possible clinical effects of static magnets on back muscles in healthy horses by assessing muscle blood flow, skin temperature, mechanical nociceptive thresholds and behaviour. 

In conclusion, static magnetic blankets did not have significant effects on muscle blood flow, skin temperature, MNTs of the epaxial muscles and behaviour as compared with a placebo blanket in healthy horses. Further research is needed to investigate if any effect may exist for horses with a painful condition. 

Expert opinion by Marly Coppens

Because of the study design used (experimental and basic research), the results can only indicate that there are no effects of magnetic blankets on this small study group of healthy horses and on these parameters; muscle blood flow, skin temperature, mechanical nociceptive thresholds and behaviour. This may be against your own experiences on horses in pain or horses with behavioural problems. In my opinion this research throws a critical note towards magnetic blankets and gives us the oppurtunity to sit back and reflect on what commercials may want us to believe.  

> From: Edner et al., Equine Vet J 47 (2015) 302–307 . All rights reserved to EVJ Ltd.. Click here for the online summary.

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