Don't do it! This is an old fashioned method that 'works' by damaging the already damaged area even further, then they need even longer off work to recover.
There are much more effective and better methods of treating tendon problems these days, i.e. ultrasound, hydrotherapy, please speak to your vet (unless they suggested firing, in which case get a new vet!), and get more advice on this issue.
A horse at the point to point yard I used to work at had this done after his tendons broke down in a race.
Then sent him over to Ireland to have it done.
I can dig out pics if you really want to see how awful it is. He was on box rest for what seemed like forever, eventually he was allowed out, and was sound, got him fit, he did his first race, won it, then broke down again, 4 yrs later he is a field ornament.
I had an ex pointer who had been pin fired, not sure that he raced again but certainly was fine to hack and hunt afterwards (although there is a school of thought that the enforced rest after this treatment is the true cause of recovery)
I think there are alternatives now, but having seen it work, I would certainly consider it amongst other options.
When I worked in the clinic it was done often. All that were done went back to racing, jumping etc. Although tendons were the usual Ive seen hocks, knees and fetlocks done. All were on painrelief and didnt show any signs of distress after the treatment at all. After the firing all were then blistered on top using red mercury which caused a horrendous reaction but as I said-none showed any signs of distress.
I wouldnt exclude it as an option. Mairi.
I thought it was illegal now? My own ex racer is pin fired on both legs, I believe a lot of Irish tbs are fired as a preventative measure to strengthen the tendons, rather than wait for them to break down.
Tbh I can't believe this is still used as a 'treatment'. I would research tendon issues (including firing pros and cons) as much as possible using the net, vets etc before even thinking about going down that path.
Just my opinion.
Firing/blistering creates scar tissue. Scar tissue is not the same material as normal tendon - therefore the tendon is likely to re-fail. There is no scientific basis to perform firing for a tendon injury. The re-failure rates are just as high (if not higher) than if you do not perform it - therefore due to the invasive nature of the procedure as far as the majority go it is unethical to perform.
The are newer procedures, which if performed properly at the correct time have better out comes for longer term success. In all cases though the most important thing is the time that the tendon is rested and how slowly and carefully the horse is brought back into exercise.
I think that fact that it is illegal in some countries gives a good indication of how valid it is as a treatment.
I have a 16 year old ex racer who has been bar fired, twice (not whilst he was under my ownership)! on both occasions as a preventative measure and my vet has commented that it was a waste of time anyway as it really hasn't done anythign to strengthen his tendons. I've been told that he was cross tied for some time following the procedure so that he did not chew his legs due to the discomfort.
He is now left with a terrible problem with the skin on these legs, it splits open unless it is kept moisturised and causes him a lot of discomfort.
My friend's eventer was pin fired as a treatment for a strained tendon and he has no lasting effect.
Personally I believe there is very little way of proving whether or not this treatment works as who can tell what would happen if these horses has just been given rest.
I am going to do some research into the matter. I have a hard time believing a lot that comes out of my loaner's mouth, so am also going to call the vet myself as I know him well and he usually contacts me about any treatment before he does it anyway.
Harv, i reccomend you to speak to Rood and Riddle equine hospital in lexington KY, www.roodandriddle.com . I used to work there and we did fire some horses but VERY specific cases (ankle oscillates if my memory serves) Larry Bramlage is THE vet to ask about this if you can get him but they are all very helpful. As i understood it firing is more a case of treating the owner so much as it is impossible to use the horse after firing and an owner can't be tempted to start work to soon.
firing is barbaric we'd never dream of doing it to a human. the important thing with tendon injuries is the regime of bringing them back into work gradually over several months. Roger Smith also recomends a strictly controlled exercise programme after stem cell therapy. Personally I'd investigate stem cell therapy.
Thanks for all the information. It has been some very interesting reading. At the moment they are dealing with an infection in his hock, so he is on Bute and Anti-biotics. Nothing else will be done until this has cleared up, and they can tell what is going on. He has had it ultrasounded, and it did show some tearing of the tendons. He is not being worked, but is out on a flat paddock on his own. Once the swelling in his hock has gone down he will have another ultrasound.