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24 Prevalence, Usage, and Perceptions of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) in the Equine Industry

March 2022


The use of alternative therapies in the equine industry is increasing in popularity and spans manual manipulation to more progressive forms of technology. Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF) has shown to reduce pain and increase range of motion within human and canine medicine. Often, PEMF is touted to improve performance and reduce stress prior to competition, yet little information exists on effectiveness, perceptions, treatment protocols, and therapeutic response within equids. Our objective was to assess how PEMF is administered and perceived therapy impact on equine patients. An online survey (Qualtrics) was disseminated to United States residents over 18 years of age and deemed exempt by the institutional review board. Data were analyzed using the frequency procedure in SAS (v9.4). Three groups within the equine industry were targeted: equine owners and leasers (OL, n = 350); trainers, coaches, grooms, and jockeys (TC, n = 80); and administrators of PEMF therapy (AD, n = 237). Across all survey respondents (n = 355), 86% (n = 305) exercise or ride their horses and 85.08% (n = 268) of individuals who ride have used PEMF therapy on their performance horse. Among TC, 96.25% (n = 77) respondents reported the use of PEMF therapy on a horse under their care. Whole body therapy was the most commonly reported location for PEMF by OL (91.6%, n = 240) and AD (96.12%, n = 223), followed by back and loin(47.33%, 124) for OL and front legs (56.47%, n = 131) for AD. Most frequent session length reported by OL was 45-90 minutes (30.96%, n = 61). Within 1 day of treatment, the majority of AD (n = 85, 40.28%) and OL (n = 104, 39.54%) perceived the greatest effects of PEMF therapy. Use and positive perception of PEMF in the equine industry is evident; however, more research is needed to elicit therapeutic effects for performance animals.


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