Liftex Sling Use

Liftex, Inc., manufactures the type of slings used in veterinary hospitals.  This is a superior design to many home-made slings because:

1.  The horse cannot back out of the sling, or sit down in it like a dog.

2.  It is breathable, resulting in less sweat.

3.  It can be adjusted to fit the horse exactly, and has a wider base of support.

4.  The fulcrum of suspension from the lifting rings is easily adjustable with the horse in the sling; therefore, promoting sternal versus abdominal support (point of lifting of the sling should be over the withers area).

5.  It offers flexibility in handling horses with injured shoulders or humerus fractures.

6.  It can be used to lift or transport a recumbent or anesthetized horse.


The above sling is the type used in veterinary hospitals, and is manufactured by Liftex, Inc.  It is a superior design, as the horses cannot back out of it or sit down like dogs, but it is considerably more money, and a special order.  http://www.liftex.com/pages/products/products.html  (Once you are on their products page, click on the Specialty Slings tab.)


The following is a copy of the company's information sheet on the use of the sling to move horses into surgery.  Please bear in mind that for trimming a sore horse, you do NOT lift him so his feet are completely off the ground. You just are taking enough weight off that he can offer a foot to you comfortably; having him completely suspended in mid-air to trim is dangerous to you, frightening for the horse, and unnecessary. 

The instructions below are for transporting a horse into surgery using a sling.  For trimming, only lift enough to take a little weight off his feet and prevent him from falling on you....don't lift him completely off the ground!


Application of the Liftex Large Animal
Sling to the STANDING Horse

Step 1:  The patient is positioned in the induction area.  The sling is laid out with the snaps next to the floor and unfolded under the horse.  The hook of the overhead hoist is lowered to a point just above the animal's back.

Step 2:  The top lifting rings of the sling are attached to the hoist hook and the sling is raised so that it almost contacts the horse's abdomen.  The adjustable straps on the top lifting ring should be adjusted so that the center of the lifting rings will be over the center of gravity of the horse (the withers).  Patting the animal on its belly before raising the sling helps prepare the horse for contact.

Step 3:  The chest and tail pieces are fastened and the straps adjusted to fit snugly.  It is essential, for the support of the rear end of the animal, that the straps from the chest piece are attached and adjusted to fit snugly prior to tightening the tail section's straps.  All movement about the sling should be carried out slowly and quietly so as not to disturb the patient.  (The sling can now be raised by the hoist to provide support for the patient resting in a standing position or the patient can be lifted and moved into surgery, see step 4.)

Step 4:  As the horse slumps into the sling it is raised high enough to take all four feet off the ground.  At this time hobbles can be placed on the horse preparing him for transport.

Step 5:  The horse in the sling-hoist apparatus may be moved into surgery and placed in the desired position on the operating table.  The hoist is removed and the buckles of the sling are loosened during the operative procedure.  After surgery the horse may be returned to the recovery facility.


Application of the Liftex Large Animal
Sling to the RECUMBENT Horse

Step 1:  The sling is placed on the floor, with the snaps next to the floor, and loosely folded with the chest and tail pieces appropriately oriented.  Hobbles can be applied to control movement of the fore and hindlimbs.

Step 2:  A tail rope is securely applied and, using a hoist, the hindquarters are gently elevated just enough to allow the sling to be unfolded and positioned under the patient.

Step 3:  The head is lifted and the three straps of the chest piece are slid under the neck and fasted to the corresponding snaps on the the body portion of the sling.  It is essential, for the support of the rear end of the animal, that the straps from the chest piece are attached and adjusted to fit snugly prior to tightening the tail section.

Step 4:  The tail piece is brought around the haunches and made to conform to the contours of the hindquarters by securely tightening the four adjustable straps (two each side) and passing the long strap, from the body section, through the large ring on the tail piece and back to the snap at the rear top of the body section (one each side).

Step 5:  With the sling thus secured fore and after, the animal may be lifted by means of the hoist.  Head, tail and feet are restrained as the animal is raised.


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