how do you know if your horse has arthritis?

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how do you know if your horse has arthritis?

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    04-29-2009, 10:47 PM
how do you know if your horse has arthritis?

Is it possible to know without getting a vet out to check? I'm just curious because I hear of so many horses who can't jump or ride a lot because of arthritis. My mare is 18 and so obviously a little older but she seems to have really good legs so far. She's always been sound. The only time I've ever seen her lame was when she got caught in a wire fence and had a minor wound... but that was a year ago. I was just wondering how you prevent arthritis in older horses? What do you who have horses with arthritis do about riding?

Any info would be helpful, thanks.
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    04-30-2009, 01:00 AM
It all depends on how bad the arthritis is and how you manage it. I would talk to your vet. My boy gets fed a supplement for arthritis everyday and he rides well. He is outdoor board so he is never really stiff or has inflammation, since he is constantly moving and flexing his joints instead of standing in a stall for 8+ hours.

His supplement has 10,000mg Glucosimine, 10,000 msm and a bunch of other stuff that is supposed to help support his joints.
    04-30-2009, 01:11 AM
Stiffness, swollen joints, obvious pain, loud popping sounds from hips and knees...

There are lots of things can indicate it. If you notice particular soreness after she stands on a hard surface for a long time, or after turning in circles, or after strenuous work there's a chance.

But I am not a vet, and I think if you suspect it, you need to have the vet check her, get her some shots and supplements.

It is manageable, with proper care.

ETA: My mare rides beautifully, but she -needs- her Legend shot every few months, and she -needs- her MSM. Otherwise she gets stiff and incredibly sore. I am also considering getting her a set of SMBs to absorb more shock and prevent further damage and pain.

ETA again: My mare has 24 hour turn-out, but has access to her stall if she chooses, instead of being stalled at night. It has helped immensely.
    04-30-2009, 11:08 AM
Thanks for the info guys. I don't think Jubilee has it. I haven't noticed any of those symptoms, I just want to protect her from getting it, since she's a bit older.
    04-30-2009, 11:38 AM
Unfortunately there is no way to 100% prevent it from happening. Some horses (dogs, cats, humans) are predisposed to joint issues due to conformation. There are repetitive things we all do that can make the issue more prevelant.

Remember as horses live longer (15 used to be old for a horse) we will have more health issues to handle.
    04-30-2009, 03:07 PM
And.... sometimes all it takes is some pain managment and a change in their job description and they are good for many more years.
    04-30-2009, 11:07 PM
I've heard that Apple Cider Vinegar is supposed to be good for their joints. My instructor has noticed definate improvement in her 30+ arthritic pony.
    04-30-2009, 11:46 PM
Thanks everyone for all your input!

RedHawk, I love your avatar! It's so cute!
    05-01-2009, 12:30 AM
I haven't heard of apple cider vinegar helping, but glucosamine and msm and chondroiton are all valid supplements. And the glucosamine/chondroitin you can feed without any harm to the horse. It'll cost you about $15 / month. The msm I don't have experience with. The best prevention and treatment is also not to stall your horse. Freedom of movement is key to keeping arthritis under control.

Symptoms are stiffness, swollen joints usually without heat and can't be relieved by cold hosing and wrapping, obvious pain. Any change in physical activity, eg. A lot more lying down, not so much trotting in the paddock.
    05-01-2009, 12:58 AM
Originally Posted by northernmama    
The msm I don't have experience with. The best prevention and treatment is also not to stall your horse. Freedom of movement is key to keeping arthritis under control.
I have had great luck with MSM. I use the pure MSM powder, and I put it directly in her feed. She does great on it.

And, I agree, freedom of movement is important.

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