Arthritis in Horses: Causes, Symptoms & Prevention

August 24, 2017 3 min read

Arthritis is often called degenerative joint disease (DJD) which is a condition that affects many horses. It’s a slowly developing chronic disease of the joint in which the cartilage wears down, resulting in pain and lameness. Healthy articular cartilage provides a smooth, slippery surface that allows free movement within the joint and adds to the shock-absorbing properties of the joint. As arthritis sets in, the cartilage becomes compromised, which disrupts the normally smooth surface, causing pain and stiffness. Arthritis cannot be reversed, but in many cases, it can be managed. It is a common problem for horses and this condition is often an inevitable change as the horse grows older. Horses that are used for jumping, dressage, racing, reining and other high impact sports, are more susceptible to arthritis in the weight-bearing joints. There are several conditions, but the most common are osteoarthritis, infectious arthritis, and traumatic arthritis.equine arthritis in horses

Primary Symptoms of Arthritis in horses:

1. Stiffness 2. Joint swelling (common joints are fetlocks, knees, and hocks) 3. Lameness 4. Shortened stride 5. Uneven gaits 6. Warmth and/or pain in the joint areas 7. Unwillingness to perform task (sometimes mistaken for behavioral issues)

Causes of Arthritis:

1. Trauma to the joint 2. Hard work over the years (old age) 3. Infection

Arthritis is diagnosed by starting with a complete history and physical exam by a Veterinarian, including palpation in the painful areas. Next the horse is observed for soundness. Nerve blocks may be helpful in localizing Arthritis pain. It may be examined further through X-rays, ultrasound, bone scan, CT scan, or MRI.

Some Ways to Help Protect the Joints:

1. Keep hooves well-trimmed and balanced 2. Use exercise, but don’t overstress joints 3. Provide good footing 4. Keep horses at a healthy weight 5. Be sure to warm up and stretch your horse before exercising

As stated above there is no permanent treatment for arthritis, only ways to manage it and prevent it from progressing too quickly. Benefab is here to help by using fabric that is made up of ceramic nano-particles, which emit far-infrared rays, increasing circulation and reducing inflammation. This helps to relax the muscles, and reduce pain and stiffness. For your convenience, below is a list of the most common areas of arthritis pain in horses and the best products for relief and recovery. Sore Hocks: Our Therapeutic Hock Boots are great for reducing inflammation in the joint, tendons, ligaments, and muscles in the hock and surrounding area. The boots are designed to cover the hock completely with a non-slip, flexible design that can be worn up to 12 hours at a time. Knees, Cannon Bone, and Pastern Bone: Our Therapeutic Smart QuickWraps feature ceramic-infused fabric in addition to 11-14 medical grade, neodymium magnets (the number of magnets depend upon which leg and its known acupuncture points) that target major tendons, ligaments, and joints in the hind and front legs. Their versatile design allows for the inner cushion and outer wrap to be separated for custom coverage. To cover the knee, the QuickWrap inner section (which is where the targeted magnets are embedded) can be moved up so that the cushion extends over the knee, providing the therapeutic benefits to that area. To cover the coronet band, the inner cushion can be moved down. Spinal and Back Pain: Our Therapeutic Rejuvenate SmartScrim features ceramic-infused fabric in addition to 80 medical grade, neodymium magnets over key acupuncture points for stimulation of those targeted areas. It not only targets the spine, but also the hips and shoulders. This scrim harmonizes bodily functions safely and naturally stimulating recovery time and ultimately reducing pain and stiffness. Feed Through Supplement: Arenus®, the leader in animal health and nutrition and makers of Sore No-More®, offer a fabulous feed-through supplement which directly supports soft tissues and joints called Steadfast. Read more about it and how it has been proven >>> here.


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