I have a 17 year old paint gelding who is a retired team penning horse. I turn him out during the day and stall him at night. In the mornings he is very stiff in his hocks and or hips. I can't really tell which. He takes very small stiff steps for around 10 minutes then he seems to be fine. I am giving him a joint supplement and the vet has been giving him adequin (spell ?). I have not seen a change. I would appriciate any suggestions.
These older performance hoses commonly have arthritis and what you describe is really common. With arthritis, joints get stiff with inactivity but they loosen up with work. The most important thing you can do for him is to stop stalling him. Full turnout and light daily exercise are good for arthritic horses. No matter how many supplements, etc you use if you are stalling him up you are requiring that he stop moving around which leads to joint stiffness and pain.
have you tried stretching? i am not sure how to explain it but you and lift the legs one at a time and stretch then ... maybe there is someone around that could show you how? hopefully that is helpful :)
I agree with Ryle...stop stalling him. Not only is that the reason that it is causing him to be stiff, but it's also unhealthy for him to be in a stall. He'll be happier outside all the time and it will be better for his joints
The main reason I have continued to stall him after noticing the stiffness is that he has horable hooves!! He is flat footed....always has seperation and I stress myself out over his hooves! My farrier has told me to keep his feet as dry as possible and he stands on clean/dry stall mats in his stall Turned out there are mosquitos big enough to carry you away...the ground is wet with due and it is dark and scary! What shoud I do?
Is there an indoor arena or a huge stall that you can put him in at night? The bigger the stall the better. When you put hay in there for him..don't put it all in one place...put it all over so he was to walk to get a new bite.
I agree with the above, and your vet's use of Adequan also suggests that osteoarthritis is probably the underlying factor here.
The keys to managing it are WET -
W - weight loss. You should make sure your horse is on the slim side of normal, as extra weight on the joints means extra pain
E - exercise. This should be at the highest level the horse can tolerate without feeling pain afterwards.
T - treatment. Anti-inflammatories and painkillers (Bute is probably the one to be used here as a painkiller, Adequan as anti-infm) should be used so that exercise can be tolerated.
There's obviously a degree of compromise between exercise and pain relief - too much pain relief could mask pain from over exercise, too little pain relief won't let them exercise enough. The right balance to strike is something you need to discuss with your vet, then constantly re-evaluate as time goes on.
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