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Press Release


Dr. Anne Moretta

Dr. Anne Moretta

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Dr. Anne Moretta Brings Diagnostic and Treatment Edge to Wellington Equine Sports Medicine with Spinal Manipulation

Written by: Emily Riden
Client: Wellington Equine Sports Medicine
Release Date: 2016-03-30

Wellington, Fla. – March 31, 2016 – It’s a situation that riders, owners and trainers often know all to well: the horse appears to trot off sound, but they know from the horse’s behavior or performance that something is not quite right.  

These underlying, subclinical lamenesses are often frustratingly difficult to diagnosis and treat, but now, Anne Moretta V.M.D. M.S. and the team at Wellington Equine Sports Medicine have a cutting edge advantage thanks to equine spinal manipulation. Spinal manipulation is the term for chiropractic (human term) therapy used for treating animals.

“Many of the subtle lameness problems come from the axial skeleton, specifically the vertebral column and the ligaments, tendons, joints, nerves and muscles associated with the horse's back,” Moretta said.  

Along the horse’s spinal column there are more than 175 joints – formed where two adjacent vertebrae come together. When each of those joints is moving properly, the horse is flexible, healthy and performing well. However, when a joint can no longer go through its full range of motion, spinal flexibility and overall mobility are adversely affected. Inflammation and pain from the restricted movement affects the entire nervous system and local circulation. Muscles become less elastic, putting more strain on ligaments and tendons, which can lead to soft tissue and joint injury. Over time, if untreated in the early stages, this may lead to degenerative joint disease.

It is important to periodically screen equine athletes for subtle problems and address them early to prevent potentially career ending lamenesses later. It is an integral part of Wellington Equine Sports Medicine’s biannual Performance Evaluation. A complete physical/performance exam incorporates evaluation of an equine athlete’s conformation and biomechanics, diagnostic motion palpation of the joints, acupuncture diagnostic exam and a lameness exam.  

“We are looking for subclinical lameness problems, and we are able to use spinal manipulation to help screen for those,” Moretta said. “We use motion palpation to diagnose the location of muscle tension, muscle asymmetry or atrophy and to identify any joints or vertebrae that are not moving properly.

“Spinal manipulation as a therapeutic procedure and treatment is very effective in relieving pain and restoring normal movement,” Moretta continued. “It decreases muscle tension and spasm, restores normal nerve function to atrophied muscle groups, and it allows the horse to return to normal, bio-mechanically correct movement.”

At Wellington Equine Sports Medicine, Moretta is able to not only use spinal manipulation as a stand alone tool, but she and her colleague, Suzan Oakley D.V.M., DACVSMR, DABVP (Equine), Certified Member ISELP, incorporate it into all veterinary diagnostic exams. Spinal manipulation can also aid the rehabilitation protocols, which are coordinated with renowned rehabilitation professional Sheila Schils, Ph.D. M.S.

Moretta continued, “It’s a relatively new approach and we are developing new protocols for lameness diagnosis and treatment, and it is making a world of difference for the horses. It really gives us an edge on finding subtle lamenesses, and that’s a big aspect of why we do it and how we incorporate this into our exams.”

To learn more about spinal manipulation and how it can improve your horse’s performance and well - being, contact Wellington Equine Sports Medicine for more information or to arrange an evaluation exam. 

Contact Wellington Equine Sports Medicine:

(561) 762-6111

About Wellington Equine Sports Medicine:

At Wellington Equine Sports Medicine, Anne Moretta, V.M.D., M.S. and Suzan Oakley D.V.M., Diplomate ABVP (Equine), a certified member of The International Society of Equine Locomotor Pathology (ISELP), both distinguished equine veterinarians, educators and past presidents of FAEP work alongside equine rehabilitation professional Sheila Schils Ph.D M.S. The Wellington Equine Sports Medicine team evaluates the entire horse with innovative approaches and technology to resolve underlying lameness or performance issues. Their team philosophy provides a cohesive treatment plan from initial diagnosis and selection of the latest treatment options to the development of rehabilitation protocols using individually tailored steps in equine care.


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