Horse is newly stiff?

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Horse is newly stiff?

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    03-30-2014, 08:51 PM
Green Broke
Horse is newly stiff?

My 19 yo haflinger is going pretty strongly considering his age. I just started riding after a long winter and I've found that his pretty stiff in his rear end. I almost thought he was lame but he does it on both back legs. Yet, when I trot and canter he isn't stiff. I did have a lameness exam done on him in September and these were the results:
RF- 1/5 fetlock
LF- high-med splint old. Neg palp
LH- stifle flex 1/5 hock flex 1/5
RH- stifle flex-neg hock flex-neg

Now, he doesn't seem in pain and I did bute him this morning and it doesn't seem to have helped any. The vet did say he should have hock injections but I was trying to stay away from those. He does get smartpaks smartflex ll support. And he's been on those since about February and I thought they were really helping until he's been recently stiff. I didn't notice any stiffness last year when I got him and the vet didn't say anything about it. My farrier took a quick look at him and said he seems stiff. But, he doesn't work out of it when I ride, he isn't stiff at a trot or canter though.

Opinions? I'm afraid I might be hurting him but he's not in any pain I can see. Just stiff.
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    03-31-2014, 07:24 AM
Green Broke
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    03-31-2014, 08:29 AM
Try Pentosan Polysulfate. It's brilliant stuff. Intramuscular injection, treats every joint in the body. It can also be injected directly into the joint but that's only for horses that the IM method isn't working well enough for.

It's pricey but it's the best arthritis medication on the market, in my experience - and don't waste your money on oral joint suppliments. They've been scientifically proven not to work. {just don't ask me where I read that, I remember random facts but never where I get them from!} The only one I have found to work is MSM, which has so many side benefits it's not even funny. MSM and pentosan working together are anecdotally one of the best anti-arthritis combinations and can be used as a preventative as well as for maintaining an arthritic horse.

My eventer was quite arthritic in his knees, hocks and hips and pentosan was magical stuff. I gave it in conjunction with MSM and it kept him sound for mid-level jumping [around the 3'7 to 3'10 mark] for more than 6 months. It would have been longer but I couldn't afford to keep it up because I had big vet bills to pay for my young horse. After I stopped the pentosan and MSM, he was sound for about a month, and then he went stiff again and was retired from jumping. He was 18 at the time but had been jumped very high from a very young age [he was 15 when I bought him, it wasn't me].
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    04-01-2014, 09:36 AM
Green Broke
I'm actually planning on buying pentosan in they new few weeks when I can afford it. Should I not be riding him? He seems fine just really stiff at a walk all of a sudden since we've been riding more coming out of this horrible winter. I have a show coming up this Sunday and I'm kinda scared they'll disqualify me because he is so stiff at a walk, but at a trot and canter he's totally fine. Should I not be riding him?
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    04-01-2014, 11:46 AM
Riding is good for arthritic horses. As much as they can handle, no more and no less :)

Also have a look at his muscles. Give him a good massage [and go DEEP] in his shoulder and hindquarter, and his back. Stiffness can be muscular. It isn't always arthritis. But at 19 I would give him pentosan anyway as a preventative. All horses over age 10 have some degree of arthritis somewhere according to my vet. It's commonly given to racehorses [yes, young horses!] as a preventative.

There is a VERY small risk that a horse could develop an allergy to it but pentosan is considered to be one of the safest medications on the market. Do watch that if you give the standard pentosan [not pentosan gold] that you give it IM. It's designed to be injected into the muscle and while it's a safe drug, I wouldn't personally risk giving it IV. Pentosan gold on the other hand is designed to be given IV and is more effective but not quite as safe.
    04-01-2014, 11:52 AM
Green Broke
Thanks! It's just so weird because he was fine all last year when I rode and this year up until I started riding again after winter. (Unless he's always had it and I just never noticed) but, like I said the vet came out and never mentioned it last year when I had the lameness eval done. The vet also did want to inject his hocks and I would rather go another route first. I am going to try the MSM and pentosan here soon. I will try to get a video of him through all his gaits just so you can see what I mean.
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    04-01-2014, 01:40 PM
Well sure. My horse was fine all last year too. And then she sat all winter. Do you know what happens when arthritic horses, dogs, humans sit and are inactive? They get stiff and sore.

They have to keep USING the joints to decrease inflammation and pain.

And it takes a LONG time to build them back up. You have to do it carefully and slowly.

And I'm sure his muscles are sore too. Massage. Pentosan. Liniment. Slow work getting him back into shape.
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    04-01-2014, 04:27 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by CLaPorte432    
Well sure. My horse was fine all last year too. And then she sat all winter. Do you know what happens when arthritic horses, dogs, humans sit and are inactive? They get stiff and sore.

They have to keep USING the joints to decrease inflammation and pain.

And it takes a LONG time to build them back up. You have to do it carefully and slowly.

And I'm sure his muscles are sore too. Massage. Pentosan. Liniment. Slow work getting him back into shape.
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He wasn't ridden for over a year until I got him in August and I moderately rode him until winter hit and he wasn't stiff at all.
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    04-03-2014, 12:28 PM
Green Broke
Ok spoke with the vet and judging on our lameness exam done last year she believes he's stiff from the hard winter plus not being worked took a toll on him. So she suggested she could come out and redo another lameness exam and depending on what she finds she can inject his hocks which will run me $600+. Last year she told me about the pentosan so I brought that up with her and she said I can most definitely try that and see if it helps before spending all that money on injections/lameness exam, etc.

She suggested I also put him on Cosequin and I've used it before and I'm not a firm believer that it works so I don't want to use it this time around. She suggested I use it in conjunction with the pentosan. I also asked about using the MSM and she said that works too or I can also put him on previcox which I've used before wth great sucess. So, what would you guys suggest? I'm picking up the pentosan Friday. Would you suggest I put him on the previcox too for some added support or just try the MSM?
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    04-03-2014, 01:41 PM
Super Moderator
I would spend the money on having X rays done to see what the extent of the arthritis damage is before going ahead with any medications at all.
Yes exercise is the best thing for them - and that was one of the things proven by the research that showed the supplements to work as well as the placebos - essentially they made no difference at all. But the exercise has to be geared to the level of the arthritis and masking it with pain meds that allow the horse to do more work than its actually really sound for can accelerate the wear and tear of the condition - so with the right help and medication some horses can still do some light jumping but some are only going to be comfortable as pasture pets.
I've found Back on Track wraps really beneficial.

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