Wellness Wednesday! HBO: Its Something to Watch- The Sanctuary’s Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber: The Power to Heal

The Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber at The Sanctuary
The Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber at The Sanctuary

Ocala, FL – The Sanctuary Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation Center boasts a strong line up of therapies to condition and rehabiliate horses, canines and other animals. From the Cold Saltwater Leg Spa, which is invaluable for treating and conditioning the legs and joints of competitive equines, to their state of the art laser therapy used to revitalize and activate the healing process in cells, The Sanctuary is an incredible resource for veterinarians and equestrian professionals. But of The Sanctuary’s cutting edge therapies, the Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber is one of the most versatile and powerful.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a procedure that delivers increased amounts of oxygen to diseased or injured tissues. It is currently one of the most powerful tools available as a primary and adjunctive form of therapy for wounds, tendon and ligament injuries, infections, and a plethora of other conditions. Oxygen is delivered to the patient under pressure, and concentrates the oxygen available in the air breathed by the horse. This allows more oxygen to be dissolved into the blood plasma and delivered to the injured and diseased tissues.

The true power of the Hyperbaric Oxygen is most spectacularly shown in its ability to heal post surgical, infected, or slow healing wounds. One such case is that of a young thoroughbred owned by Bobby Jones of BryLynn Farms and former president of the Florida Thoroughbred Farm Managers. Jones contacted The Sanctuary regarding a colt who had sustained a wound to the right hind fetlock 15 days before the August yearling sale. The treatment protocol developed by Jones and the attending veterinarian in conjunction with The Sanctuary was to do 3 hyperbaric oxygen treatments in a week, along with 3 leg spa treatments and daily laser therapy in addition to bandaging and antibiotics. According to Jones, “the therapy regimen allowed the horse’s injury to heal faster, and not only did the colt make it to the sale, but he sold for a very good price.

Georgie the African Kudu during his treatment in The Sanctuary’s HBO chamber (Photo: The Sanctuary)
Georgie the African Kudu during his treatment in The Sanctuary’s HBO chamber (Photo: The Sanctuary)

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy also came to the rescue of a not so typical patient in 2008 when a 5-month-old Kudu, a type of African antelope, was injured when his leg caught in a fence, exposing bone and tendons. After three weeks, the wound was not healing properly and a decision needed to be made to either put the animal down or find a more aggressive treatment. Dr. Robert Barber, DVM P.A., attending veterinarian for the Micanopy Zoological Preserve owned by Jerry Holly, suggested hyperbaric oxygen treatments. In conjunction with The Sanctuary, Dr. Barber and the Micanopy Preserve developed a regimen of 5 hyperbaric oxygen treatments over seven days, along with continuous antibiotics and bandaging. Three weeks after the first HBO treatment, the kudu’s wound was almost completely healed and he was released back into the preserve.

Another animal whose condition was completely reversed by the power of Hyperbaric Oxygen is Princeton, a 12-year-old show pony owned by Carolyn Auerbach. Princeton suffered from cutaneous pythiosis, a disease of the skin caused by the fungus pythium indisidiosum that creates painful lesions on the skin.

“The one thing that did a lot for him was the hyperbaric oxygen chamber at The Sanctuary,” said Auerbach, referring to the scourge known, among other names, as 'Swamp cancer,' which began last fall as an innocuous scrape before turning into a recurrent, painful fungal infection that was steadily growing in size.

A review of his condition by equine surgeons in Ocala, FL, was optimistic.  After only 10 treatments in the hyperbaric chamber over the course of 6 weeks, the fungus was killed and the wound healed.  “Every time he went into the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, he came out better. In the end we were able to kill all of the fungus and all of Princeton’s wounds are healed." General manager at The Sanctuary, Brenda McDuffee says, “The Sanctuary is proud of the success it has earned over the years helping to rehab horses, dogs and even the occasional African kudu. Just like human athletes, our horses deserve to be in the best condition so that they can train to the top of their game.”

For more information on the Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber, including case studies, photos, and an informational video, visit http://www.sanctuaryequinerehab.com/?page_id=3878. Read more testimonials and learn more about the range of services offered at The Sanctuary by visiting www.sanctuaryequinerehab.com.




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