Remember how I told you about Kona’s injury on Tuesday? Well, this is how it looked on Wednesday:
Let’s just call it like is. Kona has a boobie.
So, I asked myself the question that all horse owners eventually ask themselves, “What am I going to do about this painful boobie? Should I hose it? Should I bute him? Should he have stall rest or get turned out? Should I buy him a bra?”
I scrolled through my mental first-aid Rolodex and thought of using a poultice or DMSO. I’m more familiar with poultices, but you can’t exactly wrap a boob. On the other hand, DMSO has always seemed like a mysterious substance to me, and my confidence level is low using it. I decided to talk to my vet and get her opinion on what to do, and she agreed that bute and DMSO were the best things to use.
There’s just something about that clear jelly-like substance with it’s laundry list of warnings that doesn’t sit well with me. Before I started slathering it on my boy, I wanted to know more about it. Maybe I’m the last horse person to know all these things, but just in case, I thought I’d share my insight with you!
Here’s the quick and dirty stats for DMSO:
- DMSO stands for dimethyl sulfoxide.
- DMSO is non-toxic by itself, but can become toxic when mixed with certain chemicals.
- DMSO’s molecular structure makes it perfect for bonding onto other molecules and traveling through membranes.
- DMSO is known as an NSAID because of it’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
- DMSO is hygroscopic, meaning it can draw fluid out of tissues by binding with water molecules.
The science behind DMSO is pretty darn cool, if you ask me. After doing my research, I agreed that using DMSO on the fluid pocket (aka the booby) would help draw the excessive fluid out of the tissue. However, I also learned that applying DMSO on fresh wounds or injuries could actually have the opposite desired affect. Because DMSO increases the blood circulation, it can actually produce more swelling and heat. Apparently, the process in which DMSO binds to free radicals can actually cause more heat and swelling, which leads to more free radicals, more binding, more swelling, etc. So, it’s best to use a cold therapy, such as cold hosing, on a fresh open wound or injury.
Gee, I feel so science-y, don’t you? But, I need to know how I can actually use the stuff. Let’s put this into practical terms. Here are my top five practical uses for DMSO:
1. Use as a sweat wrap to reduce edema in the lower limbs
2. Apply to swollen muscles or injuries to reduce inflammation and reduce pain
3. Use in conjunction with anti-fungal medicines to treat skin-infections at a deeper level
4. Administer orally or intravenously during early stages on laminitis to reduce inflammation in the sensitive laminae of the feet
5. Use topically with corticosteroids on sports injuries to further reduce inflammation
Horse boobs didn’t make the list, but that ain’t gonna stop me. I may not be an expert now, but I do know more than I did before. Thanks to Kona’s booby. I hope this helps you as much as it did me. I’m no longer afraid of that cheap clear jelly with mystery healing powers. It’s not so mysterious after all, if you understand the science behind it!
Don’t forget to consult your vet before using DMSO! ALWAYS wear gloves! And never mix with liniment or fly sprays!