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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone with young growing horses dealt with epiphysitis? If so, how did you go about treating it? I have heard that feed could be one of the causes so I am cutting back on the feed a little bit. Would it be a good idea to put my colt on a joint, tendon & ligament supplement for the inflammation?
 

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Not sure if it's the same but I had a colt whose fetlocks were swelling and the vet said it was because he was growing too fast. Had me add copper to his diet but it was so long ago I can't remember which form of copper it was. I had to get it from a compounding pharmacy.
 

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I forgot to add...That colt is now 17 and has had no further problems with his joints and is sound as can be.
 

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You want to cut back on feed and make sure your diet is balanced. A good vitamin mineral supplement or ration balancer is a must. In fact I would consider replacing the grain with a ration balancer.

Ration balancer's are designed based on what hay you feed. Make sure to buy the right one (grass vs alfalfa).
 

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You will want to confine the horse for a bit, a friend of mine also gave her foal a partial shot of Adequan and it helped. Talk to your vet is probably the best advice.
As well, I don't know how much you are feeding the colt, but over feeding can cause a lot of developmental disorders. You want the horse to eat mainly forage (ie hay) and then I would provide a free choice mineral and that's it!
Many horses I know who were fed grain or pellets as foals and young horses have ended up with developmental issues :( Horses are made to eat forage. If the horse drops too much weight - then supplement their hay. But if they are not thin, they don't need extra feed!
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Anabel summed it up well:D Epiphysitis cases i've seen were brought on by too rich or imbalanced diets. Calcium phosphorous ratio being a big one. Whenever my vet sees joint issues like this he tells you to strip their diet to a plain grass hay & balance mineral supplement.
I had one yearling filly that was out at a stable to get prepped for upcoming show season. She went & i thought she was getting the similar diet to what I had her on:).Well she basically was but she developed Epiphysitis & contracting/knuckling fetlocks. Only later did I find out they fed her the mineral supplement they feed their young horses on top of the one I had sent with her{that she was getting at home}. The imbalance of the supplements I believe is what brought it on:shock: I brought her home & she went on stall/paddock rest was only allowed plain hay & a bit of beet pulp till things settled down:-(. She improved after a couple weeks & by month was pretty much back to normal & I was able to get her back to my regular diet plan. She never had another episode:wink: That mare is now happy sound 7yr old now.

Sounds like you probably need to re-evaluate your feeding plan:wink:.Until then I'd be stripping your youngsters diet down to the bare essentials till things settle down.:-(
 
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You do not want to cut back on the feed a little bit you need to cut back on the feed a lot.

Antebel says it right, growing horses need ad lib forage and a balancer, they do not need the mixes that companies say feed X lb a day.

He might well be sound now but, twisted joints often prove problematic as the horse ages.
 

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What are you feeding now? Your feeding program must be built around the hay / forage you are feeding. You supplement an alfalfa based diet completely different than a grass / grass hay based diet.

Most Vets and Nutritionists now refer to these problems as DOD (Developmental Orthopedic Disease). This includes the condition formerly called epiphysitis. This condition can be recognized by looking at the horse's fetlocks and pasterns. The horse may have very upright pasterns (particularly the hinds) that are so upright that they frequently knuckle over forward. The fetlock joint may be enlarged and when viewed from the front will have a 'square' look to it instead of being smooth and round. They often look like they have knobs at the tops and bottom on both the inside and outside of the joint.

We do quite a bit of herd management for other farms and this is what we recommend. We put horses with DOD caused by rapid growth and/or over-feeding grain on the program outlined below. They have all responded to this program. Using this program on weanlings has also always worked to prevent DOD while still promoting good growth and development. The people we help have to have well grown out yearling that are going to go into training or go to sales or shows. They must grow good but not have any DOD or soundness problems.

We recommend that horses with DOD should first be put on a straight grass hay. Then, they should have access to a free choice high Calcium (Ca) mineral. Ours contains 24% Ca, only 5% Phosphorus (P) and has 2% Magnesium (Mg) as well as 150,000 IU of Vitamin A per #. The horses should have no other salt available. Grain should be cut way back at first. As the condition corrects itself, they can gradually be fed more, but grain should still be limited.

If a person wants good growth, protein can be gradually added. Growing foals need protein for growth and muscle development. Grain (carbohydrates) only promotes fat fleshy foals (and leg problems). The growth they need comes from protein. So, a small amount of grain with 1/2 pound of soybean meal added daily will do this. Do not add the Soybean meal until the knobby joints and upright pasterns have been corrected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Thanks guys for all the great info. Right now his case is very mild. But we want to address it now before he develops any problems. This is his diet right now: 3 quarts(2.5 lbs) twice daily of Triple Crown Growth Feed, pasture during the day and 3 flakes of o/a at night. I am dropping the feed to 3 quarts daily, so he would still be able to get all his vitamins and minerals. I was initially told by my vet that I should have him on an alfalfa mix hay. But I guess I should probably take him off it now. I also read some studies that mentioned MSM helps clear up the inflammation of epiphysitis in young horses. I'll have to speak to my vet, but I'm thinking of adding a Glucosamine, MSM supplement

He is at a barn that only turns out for 7 hours, definitely not enough for a growing horse. So I am moving him to a facility that has 24/7 turnout after I get his legs under control. He will be out eating grass for the most part.
 

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Be very careful. Unchecked over weight and over fed foals can have DOD that is mild but it can go on to be Osteo Chondrosis. the cure for that is euthanasia.

I know because I had it happen. Years ago.
 

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3 quarts is WAAAAAAAAY too much!!! A loose, free choice mineral is all he needs. Or if you want to feed it in pellet form, it's about a tablespoon per day.
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To put it in perspective, my FEI horse who is schooling GP and in work 7 days a week, fit as a whistle, gets 2 cups a day of podium to mix in his minerals, and then hay.

Feeding too rich food to a foal can have very bad consequences :( try to get him on as little concentrates as possible to where the ribs remain easily palpable.
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
To put it in perspective, my FEI horse who is schooling GP and in work 7 days a week, fit as a whistle, gets 2 cups a day of podium to mix in his minerals, and then hay.

Feeding too rich food to a foal can have very bad consequences :( try to get him on as little concentrates as possible to where the ribs remain easily palpable.
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Okay so I'm going to start him on a joint supplement to help with the inflammation. I'll eliminate the feed and alfalfa. Now, he is going to be out with a herd. They only come in the morning for feed, and then they are out. So he won't always be able to get hay other than the round bale and grass out in the pasture. Would you feed timothy pellets or like a grass cube along with the minerals?
 

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Alfalfa is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a good hay for horses needing more calories, and a better alternative to lots of grain.
I would feed the minerals however he will eat them.

Keep in mind with a joint supplement that very little, if any of it will be absorbed into the horse's body through the gut. Might as well just cut up $1 bills and feed them... JMO.
If you're really concerned ask your vet about a bit of Adequan. And until the joint issues are resolved the horse should be confined, not in a new herd.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Alfalfa is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a good hay for horses needing more calories, and a better alternative to lots of grain.
I would feed the minerals however he will eat them.

Keep in mind with a joint supplement that very little, if any of it will be absorbed into the horse's body through the gut. Might as well just cut up $1 bills and feed them... JMO.
If you're really concerned ask your vet about a bit of Adequan. And until the joint issues are resolved the horse should be confined, not in a new herd.
I am planning on keeping him in a small paddock with an attached stall until he recovers. I spoke to his vet and nutritionist, both recommended that I try a MSM, glucosamine supplement so that is why I am looking into that. It doesn't cost much, so I don't mind trying it out.
 
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