Horse Arthritis—What You Should Know
Most individuals have heard of arthritis and while they know it exists in humans many people don’t realize that arthritis also affects horses as well as other animals. However, horse arthritis is a major concern of horse owners and something all owners of horses should be aware of. If you don’t know about horse arthritis then you should continue reading to find out some important information regarding horse arthritis.
Horse Arthritis and What to Look For
Horse arthritis can develop for many reasons. Horse arthritis might be hereditary, a result of the horse growing abnormally, injuries, joints that are loose and plenty of other reasons. Taking care of your horse’s joints is important to try and prevent the onset of horse arthritis, however there is really no way you can totally eliminate the risk of horse arthritis.
Basically, horse arthritis results when the liquid in the joints, known as synovial fluid, becomes thinner providing less cushion to the joints. Then, as the fluid becomes thinner and is not as present in the joints with each movement the joints grind against each other causing significant pain to the horse because of horse arthritis.
If you have a young horse then you don’t need to worry about horse arthritis as much, other than making sure your horse is in shape, does not overeat, and treat any and all injuries. However, around the age of 15 you should be concerned about horse arthritis. The reason you should be concerned about horse arthritis at this age is because the horse is older, less cartilage is produced, and more is used, not to mention the ligaments and tendons are more elastic and prone to injury. As a result, your horse is more likely to suffer from horse arthritis as he ages.
Fortunately, if you know what to look for you can treat horse arthritis as long as you find it early. Because of this it is important to really check your horse’s joints on a regular basis. Look for swollen or hot joints, decreased range of motion in your horses step, and even stiffness early in the day. All of these symptoms could be warning signs of horse arthritis and you should take immediate action.
What to Do When You Suspect Horse Arthritis
If you suspect your horse is beginning to develop horse arthritis then you need to take immediate action. Call your veterinarian and make an appointment letting him know you suspect horse arthritis is the culprit for the problems your horse is experiencing. The veterinarian will then perform several tests like ultrasounds, viewing the horse’s gait, testing the fluid in the joints and other diagnostic tests. Then, if the vet finds horse arthritis he may perform more tests as well. Once the vet finds the level of horse arthritis your horse is experiencing he will be able to suggest treatment options that vary from natural glucosamine treatments to weight control and the like. If you believe your horse might be suffering from horse arthritis, consult your vet immediately.