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  1. #1
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    Question Arthritis in Coffin Joint - Help? LAST UPDATE!; NO ARTHRITIS! :)

    So, my mare has been slightly off, really just "not quite right", for awhile now. It started with just some occasional unevenness, but recently (a week ago) turned into actual lameness at the slow jog. When asked to move out she's fine, at the canter she's fine, but when asked to slow down into a proper jog, she was having problems.

    Had the vet out, blocked her and did flexion tests out the wazoo, vet was very thorough (love him, awesome vet!). We ruled it down to two things; it's either she twisted something and is just plain ol' sore, or she may be having the start of arthritic changes in the coffin joint.

    Naturally, I heard the word "arthritis" and my stomach kinda went into a dang knot. She's only 11, never worked hard in her life, never jumped more than a foot tall. Really low-mileage horse. But to be fair, she is also the typical bulldog QH with a very large body on short stocky, upright legs.

    So my question is, well, I've got a lot of questions!

    Would this be a good time for Adequan or Legend injections, IV or IM?
    What about joint supplements?
    Would she benefit from corrective shoeing? What kind?
    How should I alter her riding, what should I avoid under saddle?
    Is she a candidate for joint injections, being so young?


    I'm really hoping it's just that she twisted a leg, but I want to be prepared if it ends up the latter. Any and all input or advice greatly appreciated! (I'd love to hear from a farrier about the corrective shoes part.. )
    Last edited by sublimequine; Jul. 23, 2008 at 06:00 PM.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  2. #2
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    From my experience she is not too young for joint injections. Lots of horses younger than her get them. Talk to your vet about your thoughts. Have xrays taken to confirm any arthritic changes so they can be properly addressed and you are not just taking a shot in the dark and spending great amounts of money on treatments that do not work. Good luck with her!
    "To my Gub... Godspeed my friend, till we meet again." 1996-2007.
    Runway (Sasha) 2009 Zweibrucker filly by Redwine.

    "Silence is golden...and duct tape is silver."



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by gubbyz View Post
    From my experience she is not too young for joint injections. Lots of horses younger than her get them. Talk to your vet about your thoughts. Have xrays taken to confirm any arthritic changes so they can be properly addressed and you are not just taking a shot in the dark and spending great amounts of money on treatments that do not work. Good luck with her!
    Thank you! We're doing bute for a week and seeing if she gets any better, then vet is coming back out to figure out more. Really this is all pre-emptive, but I wanna be well-informed either way!
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  4. #4
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    Absolutely get radiographs before moving forward.

    Joint injections can be very, very helpful. 11 is not too young.

    Adequan goes IM, Legend goes IV. Your vet can advise you as to which is appropriate for your horse.

    Keep riding her. Consistent work is important in keeping horses with arthritis going. You may need to limit or cut back, depending on what you're doing with her and how she looks after initial treatments, or you may be able to continue doing whatever you're doing. It depends on how you treat her and how she responds.

    Joint supplements won't hurt and might help.

    Corrective shoeing may be indicated if there's something to correct. Keeping the foot balanced and the toe short is important.



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simkie View Post
    Absolutely get radiographs before moving forward.

    Joint injections can be very, very helpful. 11 is not too young.

    Adequan goes IM, Legend goes IV. Your vet can advise you as to which is appropriate for your horse.

    Keep riding her. Consistent work is important in keeping horses with arthritis going. You may need to limit or cut back, depending on what you're doing with her and how she looks after initial treatments, or you may be able to continue doing whatever you're doing. It depends on how you treat her and how she responds.

    Joint supplements won't hurt and might help.

    Corrective shoeing may be indicated if there's something to correct. Keeping the foot balanced and the toe short is important.
    Thanks for the input. As I mentioned, we'll definitely get a lot more tests and such going before making a definitive diagnosis, vet just basically told me the two things he thinks it most likely is caused by, based on how she goes and such.

    Her feet are very balanced and nice, but I've heard sometimes increasing breakover and reducing concussion to the foot's really important in these cases, so I was wondering about that.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  6. #6
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    Her feet are very balanced and nice, but I've heard sometimes increasing breakover and reducing concussion to the foot's really important in these cases, so I was wondering about that.
    Blush has some coffin joint issues, and keeping her breakover as short as possible REALLY helps her.



  7. #7
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    You definitely should get xrays. I started having the same problem with my gelding, he just seemed stiff and hesitant to go forward. I had him xrayed and the findings were navicular changes / navicular disease. I had two different vets kind of give me two different opinions; you can check out the thread I just started. Anyway, I really hope this is not the same case for you, but you should definitely get xrays done just to make sure you know what is really going on.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simkie View Post
    Blush has some coffin joint issues, and keeping her breakover as short as possible REALLY helps her.
    So is that done through trimming for your girl, or shoes?

    Mimi; Sorry about your guy, saw your thread, how frustrating. I will definitely get x-rays if vet says that's the next step.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sublimequine View Post
    So is that done through trimming for your girl, or shoes?

    Mimi; Sorry about your guy, saw your thread, how frustrating. I will definitely get x-rays if vet says that's the next step.
    Haha, Blush barefoot?

    No, she wears shoes. Miss Princess would just die if I tried to have her barefoot.

    But a super short phalangeal lever could certainly be done barefoot. It might even be easier to do barefoot, since you could knock the toe back more often.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simkie View Post
    Haha, Blush barefoot?

    No, she wears shoes. Miss Princess would just die if I tried to have her barefoot.

    But a super short phalangeal lever could certainly be done barefoot. It might even be easier to do barefoot, since you could knock the toe back more often.
    Just curious, my girl is currently barefoot, but really could go either way. She's worn shoes before.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  11. #11
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    Now you don't want to have her toes trimmed too short, but rolling the toe helps the breakover. If it is navicular changes, corrective shoeing will be a great benefit to her. Shoes that will raise the heel up a bit will help ease the strain on the navicular bone. But again, xrays will most likely show the problem. check out thehorse.com, it is a great online magazine with tons of great articles to read on all types of health and lameness issues.
    "To my Gub... Godspeed my friend, till we meet again." 1996-2007.
    Runway (Sasha) 2009 Zweibrucker filly by Redwine.

    "Silence is golden...and duct tape is silver."



  12. #12
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    Actually more recent information has shown that raising heels is not always correct for caudal heel pain...it can be a temporary fix but the pain will return.

    Dr Bowker has an excellent article on how lowering heels creating better results.



  13. #13
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    If/when you get radiographs, be sure to get some shoeing views (they need to be taken in a particular way). You will want to pay attention to the alignment of the bones, length of the toe and (often missed) the medio-lateral balance. Then "corrective" shoeing will be balancing the foot in all directions and perhaps easing the breakover.
    Don't be too quick to jump to the navicular conclusion. Just because there are bony changes does not mean that they are causing the problems! A trial of carefully balanced shoeing and some time for things to resolve (after your bute therapy) may solve the problem.
    Good diagnostics now and some patience should help you find the issue and save time, money and pain in the long run!



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsM View Post
    If/when you get radiographs, be sure to get some shoeing views (they need to be taken in a particular way). You will want to pay attention to the alignment of the bones, length of the toe and (often missed) the medio-lateral balance. Then "corrective" shoeing will be balancing the foot in all directions and perhaps easing the breakover.
    Don't be too quick to jump to the navicular conclusion. Just because there are bony changes does not mean that they are causing the problems! A trial of carefully balanced shoeing and some time for things to resolve (after your bute therapy) may solve the problem.
    Good diagnostics now and some patience should help you find the issue and save time, money and pain in the long run!
    Well said, thanks for the input. As you said, we're going to do plenty of diagnostics, as I want to pinpoint EXACTLY the problem, not just make a guess. That way I can more accurately make a plan of how to keep her maintained and happy.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  15. #15
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    My mare developed coffin join arthritis at age 9. I was able to continue the same level of work (BN eventing and 2'6" h/j) for about 2 years with agressive treatment. that included:

    -Injections
    -Therapeutic shoes (egg bars and, later, wedge pads)
    -Cutting back on work/show schedule
    -Chiro work
    -Lots of attention to footing (NO riding on too hard/uneven surfaces)

    8 years later, the arthritis has progressed to the point where injections didn't help anymore. She had so much scar tissue built up from all the injections and arthritic changes that the vet couldn't even get into the joint anymore. So, she's now retired to pasture. But, she was perfectly happy and sound for years with treatment.



  16. #16
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    Oh, and I'm sure that this mare developed arthritis at a young age for 2 main reasons:

    1. She's a draft cross, and built a little downhill. She carries a lot of weight on that front end!

    2. She was JUMPED TOO EARLY (age 4). This was BEFORE I bought her.

    If your horse is "conformationally challenged", you don't have to work them at all for them to get arthritic.



  17. #17
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    Sublime...I can't remember...have you tried barefoot and or boots/pads? I agree that breakover is important and that can be done barefoot quite easily. I would not think that steel shoes would help with concussion...if anything it would make it worse. The bare hoof absorbs and dissipates shock better as long as (and I'm qualifying this) the hoof is functioning as nature intended...with a heel first or even a flat landing. If your horse is landing on her toes, that needs to be addressed and corrected and the vibration/concussion from poor hoof function...shod or barefoot...can lead to other problems.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proffie View Post
    Oh, and I'm sure that this mare developed arthritis at a young age for 2 main reasons:

    1. She's a draft cross, and built a little downhill. She carries a lot of weight on that front end!

    2. She was JUMPED TOO EARLY (age 4). This was BEFORE I bought her.

    If your horse is "conformationally challenged", you don't have to work them at all for them to get arthritic.
    Huh, good point, didn't think of that. She's downhill, definitely. QH, very old-style, so very stocky. That could have something to do with it. Thanks for the info.

    Daydream; She's barefoot now, and I use boots when we ride on gravel. If I went the therapeutic shoeing route, I'd probably go for something that is coated in a synthetic material, like the easywalkers or something like that.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  19. #19
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    I've heard some of the more high tech pads out now can do a lot towards absorbing concussion, pretty expensive but can be worth it. I couldn't quote studies at you or anything, though.

    If you do put shoes on her, a rockered toe all by itself can alleviate a lot of pain in some horses. Combine that with additional therapuetic techniques, and you might have a comfortable horse before you know it. As to whether shoes are neccessary or not, that's best left to you, your farrier and your vet.

    If it does turn out to be arthritis, that sucks, especially at such a young age, but it's not the end of the world. With some changes in management, she'll probably go on to be quite comfortable and productive.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CosMonster View Post
    I've heard some of the more high tech pads out now can do a lot towards absorbing concussion, pretty expensive but can be worth it. I couldn't quote studies at you or anything, though.

    If you do put shoes on her, a rockered toe all by itself can alleviate a lot of pain in some horses. Combine that with additional therapuetic techniques, and you might have a comfortable horse before you know it. As to whether shoes are neccessary or not, that's best left to you, your farrier and your vet.

    If it does turn out to be arthritis, that sucks, especially at such a young age, but it's not the end of the world. With some changes in management, she'll probably go on to be quite comfortable and productive.
    Thanks for the encouraging words. I can't wait for her 5 days of bute to be over and the vet to come back out.. I want to know what I'm dealing with already!
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



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