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Curb in Horses

February 25, 2021 2 min read

Horses are extremely active animals. From racing and jumping to strategically controlling their movements through disciplines like dressage, they are likely to suffer from many different conditions involving swelling and inflammation in their bodies, especially in their legs. Curb is a rare condition that directly affects the hock and can result in severe lameness.

What is Curb?

Curb involves the thickening and swelling of the plantar tarsal ligament which is the long band of tissue that runs down the lower back part of the hock, which helps the hock be stabilized.

It has also been discovered, through ultrasounds, that Curb can involve a collection of tissues in the distal, plantar hock region. So, when these tissues have been injured, it is said that the horse has been “thrown a curb”.

Symptoms of Curb:

  • Visible swelling of the plantar ligament
  • Visible swelling in the hock regions
  • Affected area being abnormally warm
  • Lameness (can be mild to severe)

 Causes:

Curb most commonly effects racehorses, more often Standardbreds, because of conformational abnormalities associated with their breed.

Other possible causes of Curb are:

  • Excessive work or active lifestyle
  • Sickle hock (a condition where hind legs conform too far under the body)
  • Cow hock (a condition where the hocks are conformed to closely together)

Diagnosis:

To diagnose, veterinarians will usually give a physical examination of the horse as well as using x-rays and ultrasounds for a more accurate visual of the inflamed tissues. This can determine if Curb is associated with a combination of injuries and help to diagnose the condition more accurately.  

Treatment:

Treatment for Curb usually involves plenty of rest, using an ice pack/application directly on the swelling (usually for 30 minutes at a time, up to four times a day)—switching between heat and ice initially, then giving oral/topical anti-inflammatory medication to help with swelling and pain.

In between icing, a wrap could be beneficial to use to continue the reduction of swelling.

Benefab® has many options of wraps that can improve recovery time while reducing swelling and pain. Our Therapeutic Polo Wraps, Antimicrobial Therapeutic VersiWraps, and Therapeutic Smart QuickWraps all have advanced healing technology, made with far-infrared emitting fabric to keep leg muscles, tendons, and ligaments supple and relaxed. These products safely and naturally stimulate recovery time by promoting blood circulation, increasing oxygen flow, and ultimately reducing pain and stiffness.

It is important to not rush the healing process with this type of condition. Allow your horse to take all the time necessary to recover so it does not result in a long-term injury.



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