The history of veterinary medicine is long and fascinating. For as long as animals have been sick people have tried to take care of them. Unfortunately, many of the treatments used in the past, for example, bleeding, various plants, burning with hot irons, and many, many others, were almost completely ineffective. However, most likely because they were used for so long, and because, thanks to the passage of time, some of the horses appeared to get better, many of those treatments still persist.
In the 20th century, a revolution in evaluating medical treatments occurred. That system is called science. Science is the best system that has been developed to try to sort out effective medical treatments from those that don’t work. Unfortunately, many treatments – some of which are in common use today – lack scientific support. Using treatments that are not supported by good evidence of effectiveness is generally a waste of time, a waste of money, and often subjects horses to needless stresses from unneeded interventions. While using a proven treatment is no guarantee of a good result, you’ll find that you’ll give your horse the best chance for recovery – no matter what the condition – if you stick with treatments that are supported by a solid base of evidence.
Or, as the T-shirt says, “Medicine is the best medicine.”
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