Comments on the dilemma in the September issue: Too hot to handle?

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In the dilemma discussed in the September issue of In Practice, a new client at your equine practice asks you to treat a horse's tendon injury with thermocautery, or firing. How should you respond? (IP, September 2016, vol 38, pp 414-415). Madeleine Campbell suggested one possible way forward was to try to persuade the client that there was no logical or ethical justification for the procedure that they were requesting. This could include discussing the lack of evidence that firing had any therapeutic effect and the evidence that it caused harm, and explaining that any anecdotally reported benefit was likely to be done in the enforced period of rest following firing, rather than the procedure itself. It could be worth mentioning the client's and the vet's obligation not to cause unnecessary harm under the Animal Welfare Act. Alternative therapies should be explored with the client, and referral offered if appropriate.

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