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Quack Cures from the Equine Veterinary Past

While some early veterinary treatments and procedures were based on shaky science, many were just bizarre. Here are some of the quack cures inflicted on horses (and occasionally people)! Pinfiring Pinfiring, or thermocautery, became popular over a century ago to treat lower-limb injuries and utilized a small, red-hot probe to cause burning of tissue to produce an inflammatory reaction. Most often used in racehorses rather than performance horses for conditions such as splints, bucked shins, curbs, or chronic bowed tendons, the process was performed under sedation and local anesthesia. Pinfiring is a painful procedure with no supporting research to prove that it works; it is likely that any improvement was due to the required stall rest, not the treatment itself. Not surprisingly, pinfiring has thankfully fallen out of favour, although the fact that modern thoroughbreds do turn up occasionally with cauterization scars suggests that this barbaric practice is not entirely…

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