Although firing horse’s tendons is used less and less, it is still a treatment option for some. It dates back to the Middle Ages, and – as far as many are concerned – that is exactly where it should stay!
…the damaged tendon is actually pierced with a red hot iron…
The leg is clipped, the horse is sedated, and local anasthetic is administered to numb the area. A red hot firing iron is placed against the horses lower leg in several places. There are two types – bar firing, where lines are burned into the skin, and pin firing, where the damaged tendon is actually pierced with a red hot iron. Both legs are usually fired, even if only one shows injury, as the other may have a “subclinical” injury. The horse has heavy pain relief administered, and is put on box rest.
Theoretically, the irritation caused by the burns increases blood flow to the area, stimulating repair, and healing. The new scar tissue is also thought to “strengthen and support the tendon”.
A significant amount of horses have successfully returned to work after firing, but there is no proof that the procedure actually works. As the rest period for firing is at least a year, there is much debate as to whether the healing was from the firing itself, or just the rest period.
Despite vets having strong pain relief, many people debate as to whether the trauma that the leg goes through is necessary, as there is no proof it works.
“If Burning Tissues is really effective, then why isn’t it done in humans?”
Humans may respond to this with comments such as “It’s barbaric!” “Morally, ethically, and just plain, wrong!” So, if that’s the case, why is it not illegal in horses?
What is your take on this? Barbaric, or beneficial? Should it be illegal, or more widely used? Comment below!