03-17-2014, 10:45 PM
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I see that you've found the answer and I certainly hope that your horse recovers fully and y'all are back to work ASAP, though it may seem like waiting forever...
On the subject of hock injections, as a cutting horse futurity specialist, this is something I've had a little experience with.
First of all, in my experience, hocks are MOST COMMONLY injected on young horses. As has been said, once the joints have fused, the soreness becomes less likely, though it certainly can still occur. In fact, in my biz, if they haven't had their hocks injected by mid 3 year old year, they probably aren't very good or very athletic.
The steroidal route is quicker acting and will relieve pain more effectively, but it is eventually degenerative to a joint, so it's not recommended to be repeated often. If your horse simply got sore and it looks like a one time thing, because your type of riding isn't usually hard on the hocks, have no worries, an injection of steroid or two will have no negative long term effects.
HA is my preference and while it won't relieve the pain as quickly, it is better at relieving the actual issues within the joint that cause the pain. In my biz as with reiners, we're likely going to have to inject hocks several times, and most of us use HA.
We do generally give them a day or two off, but do turn them out to move around. By three-four days, they are back to a full work load.
If your horse is with a GOOD trainer who has a lot of feel, they'll be able to tell the horse is getting sore well before a lameness test would show it. I'd sure prefer to deal with it early, as they are bound to begin compensating for the pain elsewhere and you can wind up with multiple, seemingly unrelated sore areas all from trying to keep weight off of the sore hock or stifle, or whatever.
On a side note, I can tell you one thing that I have changed that has made a significant difference in the number and regularity of my horses getting sore. While I have no science to back this up, it sure seems to have been a big deal. I don't lope my colts nearly as much. To warm up I usually long trot them, and for just a few circles in each direction and then we get right to it. Many cutting/reining/western pleasureless barns will have a routine going and people employed who do nothing but lope horses for 20-30 minutes before the trainer gets on. IMO all of the stress on that inside of hock of all of those repetitions in all of those circles is what really tears them up. Mine still stop and turn just as much, and are really on their hocks, but I can say that my hock injections are down by at least 50% since I stopped all of that loping.
Again, if I had one get sore and had a big show with lots of $$$$ on the line in 12 days, I'd go with a Steroid.