Sport horses are often equipped with leg boots and bandages to protect against impact and debris. However, an increase in tendon temperature can be a precursor to tendon fiber degeneration. Repeated episodes of hyperthermia within the center of tendons exercising at maximal effort can decrease tendon cell viability and alter the extracellular matrix.
A study at the Slovakian University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy reviewed the effects of a variety of bandages and boots on equine tendon integrity [Solheim, T. N.; Tarabová, L.; Faixová, Z. Folia Veterinaria, 61, 4: 17—21, 2017].
Sixteen sound horses were used in the study. Skin temperature was measured using an infrared thermometer in both rear and front cannon bones before and directly after a standardized exercise test. The researchers speculate that skin surface temperature likely mirrors the underlying tissue, although no direct tendon tissue temperature could be measured.
The average standing temperature of 37.4° increases during exercise according to the following boot types:
Open Front Tendon Boots
Leather Tendon Boots
Air Tendon Boots
Sympatex Traditional Boots