Objective: To determine the skin temperature of the metacarpus in horses associated with the use of bandages and tendon boots, compared with the bare limb, at rest and after 20 minutes of lunging.
Animals: 10 adult horses.
Procedures: Skin temperature on the bare metacarpus of both forelimbs was measured at rest and after lunging. Subsequently, a bandage was applied to the left metacarpus and a tendon boot to the right metacarpus and skin temperature was measured at rest and after lunging. Skin temperature was measured with fixed sensors and thermographically.
Results: Mean ± SD skin temperatures of the bare metacarpi were 14.1 ± 2.4°C (left) and 14.1 ± 3.4°C (right) at rest, and 14.4 ± 1.8°C (left) and 13.6 ± 2.6°C (right) after exercise. Skin temperatures under the bandage were 15.3 ± 1.6°C at rest and 24.8 ± 3.6°C after exercise. Skin temperatures under the tendon boot were 15.3 ± 2.6°C at rest and 20.6 ± 2.9°C after exercise. Skin temperatures under the bandage and tendon boot were significantly higher after exercise than at rest. Skin temperatures at rest were not significantly different with a bare limb, bandage, or tendon boot.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Skin temperature of the metacarpus in horses increased significantly during exercise but not at rest when a bandage or tendon boot was used. The authors speculate that both a bandage and a tendon boot accelerate the warm up phase of exercise. Further research should focus on the effects of warm up and maximum exercise on the temperature of other anatomic structures such as tendons.