Thermocautery of horses


Ratification Date: 25 Jul 2013


Thermocautery (firing) should never be used as a treatment of horses as there is no scientific evidence for its efficacy and it causes unnecessary pain. All regulatory authorities across Australia are encouraged to ban this practice.


Thermocautery is a procedure that has been applied to horses with tendon injuries. It involves use of a heating device to create inflammation.

Thermocautery has been described as an obsolete treatment (Rijnberk 1997).

The Australian Rules of Thoroughbred and Harness Racing also do not support the practice.

In Victorian regulations, in particular Section 77(2) introduces firing (thermocautery) of horses into the prohibited procedures section of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986. This prohibited procedure has been shown to have no benefits and to cause unnecessary pain.


  1. Rijnberk A (1997). Modes of treatment. Australian Veterinary Journal 75(4):260–261.
  2. The Australian Rules of Racing - [Refer AR.64F (thoroughbred racing) and Rule 99 of the Australian Harness Racing Rules].
  3. https://www.racingaustralia.horse/FreeServices/Australian_Rules_Of_Racing.aspx
  4. The Victorian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Prohibited Procedures) Regulations 2008, Version No. 074 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986,No. 46 of 1986, Version incorporating amendments as at 16 December 2008

Date of ratification by AVA Board 25 July 2013