What is Horse Joint Pain?
To understand joint pain in horses, we must first look at the equine joint structure. The equine joint structure consists of the articulating surfaces of large bones covered by articular cartilage, the synovial membrane, the fibrous joint capsule, a cavity containing synovial fluid, and associated ligaments.
What Causes Horse Joint Pain?
The internal pressure building as a result of swollen tissues brings about pain.
This inflammation can occur as a result of:
- Repeated trauma
- Stress to the joint
- Everyday use
- Athletic training
- Incorrect shoeing
- Excess weight (an overweight horse will put huge amounts of pressure on joints)
Symptoms of joint pain include:
- Heat (usually felt on the fetlock or joint)
- Raised foot (not wanting to stand on the joint)
Note: If left untreated, (or allowed to recur repeatedly), inflamed joints may have a damaging effect upon joint cartilage. The possibility of Arthritis should also be investigated.
Help for Horse Joint Pain
If you notice your horse avoiding standing on a leg, or limping – call your vet immediately. Remember to let your vet know when the trouble started and describe any swelling visible to the naked eye. Your vet will most likely prescribe treatment with anti-inflammatories, however these medications may also have side effects. Ask your vet to explain the medication, and the potential risks. Also ask him about existing equine joint supplements that can help.
There are many herbal and homeopathic remedies that can help to address stiff, painful joints in horses. Homeopathic ingredients such as Apis and Rhus tox can gently, yet effectively support supple joints and ligaments.
Ferrum phos, Nat. phos. and Calc. fluor can address imbalances at a cellular level, and help promote strong ligaments, muscles and bones. Arnica can help address pain, bruising and tenderness – without numbing the joint or carrying the risks of harsh drugs.