The Equine Science Society is a group of equine scientists specializing in nutrition, exercise physiology, reproductive physiology, genetics, bioscience, production and management and teaching and extension. Their conference was held at the end of May, and over the next few weeks I will post about some interesting research that was presented. The abstracts and invited papers are all published in the May edition of the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science (volume 52). 

Whole-Body Vibration

Several teams of researchers conducted studies on the effects of whole-body vibration on:

  • hoof growth
  • muscle metabolism
  • flexion tests, stride length and heart rates
  • stalled, but exercised horses

In summary, the researchers found:

SJ Lowe and coworkers (Abstract 1) investigated the impact of whole-body vibration on hoof growth, and found that 20 minutes per day, five days per week at 50-55 Hz for 12 weeks had no impact of vibration on hoof growth.

CS Hyatt et al (Abstract 70) investigated the muscle metabolic effects of whole-body vibration in yearling horses on stall rest, and found that 30 minutes per day, five days per week at 50 Hz for 120 days, and found that blood creatine kinase (CK) concentrations (an indicator of muscle degradation) increased over samples taken on days 0, 30, 60 and 120 in the yearlings that were in the vibration plate treatment.

As a results, the authors concluded “WBV (whole-body vibration) of young horses on stall rest does not provide significant sustained muscular benefits. Further studies using uniform muscle biopsies and hourly blood collections post-vibration are recommended for further understanding of the potential therapeutic applications of WBV.”

Nowlin and coworkers (Abstract 59) examined the effects of a vibrating platform on flexion tests, stride length and heart rates both immediately after a 30-minute at 50 Hz treatment, and after three weeks of five times per week treatments. The authors found no differences in the horses that had used the vibrating plates compared to controls, either both immediately after treatment, or after the three weeks of treatments. It was reported that horses on the vibrating plates appeared more relaxed during treatments, compared to the control horses who stood on a non-vibrating plate.

Maher and colleagues (Abstract 71) investigated the effects of whole-body vibration treatments of 45 minutes, at 50 HZ, in stalled, but exercised (moderate intensity in a mechanical exerciser for one hour, six days per week), horses over a 28-day period. The findings suggested that whole-body vibration did not affect bone mineral content, markers of bone metabolism or stride length.

Overall, these studies suggest that whole-body vibration treatments are not effective for the parameters that were studied.