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  1. #1
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    Default Joint supplements+hock injections

    Just a note to the moderators: I would prefer this stays here in H/J and not in health because this is a question specifically concerning jumping.

    Just a little background:
    Horse is 12, I've had him for 3 1/2 years, we've jumped up to 3'3 but haven't been jumping over 2'6 lately except for one instance of closer to 2'9 or 3' (but a single jump at that height). I have noticed in the past 2 months that after a hard jumping lesson, or two consecutive days of jumping my horse acts up the next day. He is hollow, breaks gait, runs at the gaits, and doesn't listen to where I am asking him to put his hind end with my legs. This has happened twice, once after I had two lessons in a row and once, last weekend, after an especially hard lesson.
    So I concluded that he is having heavy workout induced hock pain. Makes sense, right?
    Which leads me to my question: I was thinking that I should put him on a joint supplement for maintenance since he is getting to the age where that is appropriate. Recommendations? In this economy, we can't really afford to do something too expensive, but of course we need to do what is right by my horse.
    Secondly, I imagine some people are going to respond to this with "hock injections". As far as that goes:
    -how expensive? (upscale-ish area of zone II)
    -risks? (i've heard there is some danger related to hock injections
    -other pros/cons

    thanks!
    "If we we couldn't laugh we'd all go insane, if we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane." ~Jimmy Buffet
    "Pursuing the life of my high-riding heroes I burned up my childhood days..."-Willie Nelson



  2. #2
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    Jan. 20, 2004
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    Default

    Have you tried giving your horse a dose of bute the night before and the morning of one of the workouts when he seems to be uncomfortable? This can help you determine if he his acting up due to pain.

    Also, try another saddle. Make sure it's not the saddle that's bothering him.

    As far as joint supplements, in my experience they don't help enough to make much of a difference. Save your money. Hock injections do help, though.

    Good luck. It's sad when our pals start showing their age.
    --o0o--



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
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    Boston Area
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    Best option is to consult your vet who can determine if the pain is in your horse's hocks. Your vet can advise you what might work best for YOUR horse based on what he/she finds.

    If they determine it's hock pain, you have a couple of options.
    • Inject the hocks. The cost will depend on whether you need the lower hock joints injected, the upper or a combination of the two. When I had my horse's hocks injected my vet recommended both lower joints and one upper. The cost, including the barn visit and sedation was $700. My vet told me the benefits should last for about a year but your mileage might vary. It made a dramatic difference to my horse -- it was like making him 5 years younger. Yes, there is a risk of infection from injections. Use a vet that does a lot of them successfully and who knows how to do them properly.
    • IM Adequan injections. My vet recommended that I use IM Adequan after the hock injections to prolong the effects. Actually, I ended up using Chondroprotec which is similar to Adequan (not a generic and it is an off-label use of the drug but was recommended by my vet). I found that one injection/month was not sufficient to maintain my horse's comfort so I injected 2x/month. Cost was about $46/month (the cost of Adequan was about double). I do my own IM injections.
    • IV Legend. One of my friends used monthly IV Legend on her mare. It made a big difference in the mare's overall stiffness. Her gaits improved and she looked much more comfortable. However, unless you are able to do IV yourself, you are looking at a barn call on top of the cost of the drug.
    • Feed through joint supplements. The problem with these is that there is very little data (other than anecdotal) as to whether they work. According to my vet the one with the most research behind it is Cosequin and he recommends the version with ASU. I have my TB on that now because he's good at eating it and I like the idea of keeping a constant level of glucosomine in his system. I pay $160 for an 80 day supply. If your horse is a picky eater, might not be the best choice . When my warmblood was about 12 I did start him on Glanzen GL and I did think it made him more comfortable. I kept him on an oral supplement for several years (until he was almost 17) when I knew it wasn't enough. He stopped at a fence (highly unusual), was getting heavy on his forehand and was reluctant to hold his back feet up for the farrier.
    • You can also consider an oral HA solution such as Lubrisyn. There was a post awhile back on a product called FlexForce that gets good anecdotal reports that's quite a bit less expensive. I tried Lubrisyn on the horse that was injected and saw no discernible difference. Other people seem to feel that oral HA has made a huge difference. You would have to try it and see.
    Good luck! There are a lot of choices out there and not all that much data on the neutraceuticals. As one of my vets put it, "if you think it's working, it probably is!"
    Last edited by Bogie; May. 14, 2009 at 07:19 PM. Reason: fixed typo
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  4. #4
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    Default

    thanks!

    I also wanted to mention that in the winter this horse is getting 2-3 days of flat and one jumping day. In the summer this will be upped to 5-7 days a week of riding with 2 or more jumping days (depending on what he can handle. He used to jump 4 days a week in the summer and 2 in the winter (NOT my training program)) but he is in better shape as far as topline muscle goes now than he was when he was doing 2-4 days a week of jumping.
    "If we we couldn't laugh we'd all go insane, if we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane." ~Jimmy Buffet
    "Pursuing the life of my high-riding heroes I burned up my childhood days..."-Willie Nelson



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 2, 2007
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    Default

    I agree with a dose of bute the night before the next ride. Bute him once or twice and then give Robaxin the next (to see if it's more muscle related), at least that's what I would do. Or you could put Surpass on the joints to see if there was a difference, but I don't know, I've only ever used Surpass for soft tissue (it was a hock injury though and it made a huge difference). Mine started to really act up this winter, which isn't abnormal for him but I also didn't want him to be acting out of pain. He was just as bad on 2grams of bute and a dose of Robaxin.

    We've had 2 of ours get their hocks done. The first horse is an upper level dressage horse and he was hesitant in his extensions. Did his hocks, maybe a little better, maybe placebo, ended up having navicular so while maybe his hocks were sore they were a secondary issue. He had them done Jan 2008 and did not get them done this year. The second horse got them done as a last ditch effort. Showed no true signs of hock pain, but was very lethargic and pulled a few rails/broke from gaits. Pulled every single blood test under the sun and did a full lameness work up. Flexed a 1.5 on left and 1 on right, so we decided to inject (thinking maybe it would help). I didn't have a new horse afterwards, and as he got fitter/stronger he was less lethargic and more forward. Really think that one was a training thing. However this fall he was flexed and he flexed completely neg. on the right hock (and a 5/5 on the left but that was due to an injury). But again the better flexions could be due to strength. Both will get theirs done again if they need it, however in both cases they didn't really need it and there was a different underlying issue.

    We've had really good luck with Smartflex III and Adequan. The dressage horse swapped off Cosequin when Smartflex came out and the hunter went on Smartflex in June 2008 after getting his hocks done. The dressage horse was on Legend then Poly until switching 2 months ago to the Adequan, he's been much better on the Adequan. The hunter has been on Adequan since Sept 2007, but was switched off from June-August 2008 and put on Poly, which I didn't like so back to the Adequan with much more positive results. If I could give an IV they would probably both get a shot of Legend prior to a show, but worse case I just give Adequan 2x a month. However some horses do MUCH better on Legend or Poly than Adequan, so (unfortunately) it's a little bit trial and error.

    Good luck, there are so many options you might be best getting a vet evaluation and then asking for opinions.

    ETA- If I was to add another daily supp it would be Lubrisyn or the like. The dressage horse was on that, but ultimately, while effective the results were more positive with the Smartflex. Orals are a littler bit hard if you have a picky eater.



  6. #6
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    Jul. 25, 2003
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    Exercise is one of the best lubricants for joints, so you might work with your trainer and come up with a warm up program that gets him using himself properly.

    I had a trainer help me with an older horse. That routine plus a basic joint supplement kept my old QH happy and sound for a long time .

    Quote Originally Posted by Beau Cheval View Post
    thanks!

    I also wanted to mention that in the winter this horse is getting 2-3 days of flat and one jumping day. In the summer this will be upped to 5-7 days a week of riding with 2 or more jumping days (depending on what he can handle. He used to jump 4 days a week in the summer and 2 in the winter (NOT my training program)) but he is in better shape as far as topline muscle goes now than he was when he was doing 2-4 days a week of jumping.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 15, 2008
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    318

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Beau Cheval View Post
    Just a note to the moderators: I would prefer this stays here in H/J and not in health because this is a question specifically concerning jumping.

    Just a little background:
    Horse is 12, I've had him for 3 1/2 years, we've jumped up to 3'3 but haven't been jumping over 2'6 lately except for one instance of closer to 2'9 or 3' (but a single jump at that height). I have noticed in the past 2 months that after a hard jumping lesson, or two consecutive days of jumping my horse acts up the next day. He is hollow, breaks gait, runs at the gaits, and doesn't listen to where I am asking him to put his hind end with my legs. This has happened twice, once after I had two lessons in a row and once, last weekend, after an especially hard lesson.
    So I concluded that he is having heavy workout induced hock pain. Makes sense, right?
    Which leads me to my question: I was thinking that I should put him on a joint supplement for maintenance since he is getting to the age where that is appropriate. Recommendations? In this economy, we can't really afford to do something too expensive, but of course we need to do what is right by my horse.
    Secondly, I imagine some people are going to respond to this with "hock injections". As far as that goes:
    -how expensive? (upscale-ish area of zone II)
    -risks? (i've heard there is some danger related to hock injections
    -other pros/cons

    thanks!

    My horse is the same age and I got his hocks injected about a year ago and have him on a joint supplement. And I will tell you, he has TOTALLY changed. I couldn't get him to do lead changes, now they are pretty much automatic. He was having a hard time getting over 3'3, now does 3'6 comfortably (all at home, shows 2'6). Moves better, does everything better! Well worth the money. Right now I am using Corta Flx, but I think, after the Corta Flx runs out, I am going to switch to a supplement that my trainer wants me to use called Mojo. Corta Flx is like $30 a month (liquid form) and I think Mojo is $50 a month. I can't remember exactly how much the injections were but I think they were probably around $300? maybe $400? I've heard there are risks, but they are very rare and one of the risks is infection, but a lot of horses at my barn have gotten them done and never gotten infected *knock on wood*. The only cons is the rare risks and price, but other than that it is all pros. Your horse will be sooo much more happy to do his job



  8. #8
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    Another question:

    Once you inject once, don't you HAVE to continue to inject forever?
    "If we we couldn't laugh we'd all go insane, if we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane." ~Jimmy Buffet
    "Pursuing the life of my high-riding heroes I burned up my childhood days..."-Willie Nelson



  9. #9
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    Jun. 15, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beau Cheval View Post
    Another question:

    Once you inject once, don't you HAVE to continue to inject forever?
    Nope --- I only injected my horse once... It's on a needs-be basis, if you keep them on a joint supplement they most likely won't need it again for a long time. Maybe not even again.



  10. #10
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    Jul. 30, 2008
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    Texas
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    I agree with the bute thing. But I wouldn't put him on any kind of joint supplement without talking to your vet first. As far as the hock injections go, I had my horse done a year ago because he had the same sort of problems. We also x-rayed him and discovered a little bit of arthritis in his hocks. They were never a problem and worked in under a week. He's on Legend now, and he hasn't needed injections since.



  11. #11
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    10,000 mg of glucosamine daily and have your vet do a work up on him.



  12. #12
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    Apr. 23, 2008
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    I got my pony injected and have him on Cosequin SP. Before, he just stopped doing his lead changes, thats when I knew he has getting sore. Now that Ive had him injected, he is making progress. I can definitely tell a difference. I say do both, but if you can only afford one, do the injections. They will work.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beau Cheval View Post
    Another question:

    Once you inject once, don't you HAVE to continue to inject forever?
    No... and the fewer times you can get away with it, the better off you will be.

    It is not that uncommon to have only one or two rounds of injections, particularly in a joint that may be fusing, and never have to do it again.

    That said, there are plenty of horses who get their hocks done on a fairly regular basis and if that is what is needed to keep them comfortable and happy, most vets will tell you that it's fine to do. There is a chance of complications but that chance is small if the procedure is done properly by a competent vet; most will include an antibiotic in the injection as a precaution as well, which minimizes the risk even further.
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  14. #14
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    I agree that you should consult with a vet and do a full lameness workup. Could be something else entirely. Do you have baseline x-rays to go off of (i.e. look for changes?)--also not a bad idea to have the saddlefitter out.

    My 15 year old OTTB just got his hocks done for the first time that I know of. 5 injections. Upper/lower on both and one more in the front of the hock (old bone chip) with Vetrolog or something like that. It was $400 for office call, injections, tranq, etc. (I guess sometimes being in the midwest is a benefit). We had recent x-rays, so they didn't make me get any--which was nice. I agree with the posters who said once you inject you don't always have to continue. Depends if getting the inflamation down is enough or what's going on in the joint.

    Horse flexed positive 1 out of 5 on the left and 2 out of 5 on the right. The sinovial (sp?) fluid was there in the left, but like water and we got blood on the right.

    It is like I have a different horse 3 weeks later. It takes a few weeks to realize the full benefit and remember sore hocks can cause secondary pain in croup and back area. My vet clinic does load of joint injections and has never had an infection, but it can happen (I asked about it too).

    I did supps for years and only a couple have any scientific studies to back them up (and they aren't cheap) so I quit this spring. Actually I redid my whole feed/supp plan, but that's a different thread. My current "joint" management regimine for my boy is turnout, injections if needed and I would bute 6 hours before a clinic, etc.

    Good Luck!



  15. #15
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    Aug. 25, 2006
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    I agree with consulting a vet. I have a 12yr old Hannoverian, former GP horse I was told he needed hock injections and I called the vet first turns out he has a weird lesion possible tumor in his hock and injections wouldn't have done any good, so i'd get him looked at so you aren't wasting money if it is something that injections will not help. Good luck!



  16. #16
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    Couple of things...

    Please start with the vet here. You go dumping money into something that is not what's wrong and what is wrong gets worse while your wallet gets thinner. There is always a risk injecting the joint capsules. Very, very small risk bit sure as heck not worth it if that is not what is wrong.

    If it is the hocks, most of the things that will work are not cheap.

    The symptoms you describe-hollow back, running thru the gaits-also are common with back trouble, maybe just saddle fit but many find injections help along with another saddle and a course of Adequan.

    If it is the hocks-or anything else-you need to be willing to look at your entire program and adjust to suit the horse. The summer schedual you cite might be a little ambitious for a middle aged horse ( and, unless you have the papers, he may be older then you think) starting to show some wear and tear. Start with footing, footing, footing and, of course, footing.

    You may need to make concessions such as how often you jump and how high-especially since it sounds like this has started as you are ramping up and increasing the work load.

    Mine is 20 now, does not look it and does not act like it. It is not an accident. If you want them to last, you need a good overall management strategy that includes a vet evaluation, maybe injections and one of the supplements or injectables know to work on most of them. It's not just one thing.
    Last edited by findeight; May. 15, 2009 at 01:14 PM.
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  17. #17
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    Sep. 28, 2005
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    Our DWB jumper is 18 years old. We have owned him for 4 years now and he is ridden 6 days a week. He is turned out everyday, weather permitting for a least a couple of hours a day. This is the first year that I had his hocks injected. He has been on Conquer, MSM, and monthly Adequan, but showing at 3'6"-4' has been limited that last couple of years, due to finances. This year he is going to do a little more showing and I wanted to make sure he was super comfortable. The injections were around 400.00(lower joint only), no problems and now he is moving better than ever and jumping out of his skin! I thought he was pretty comfortable before but now he feels great.

    Other issues to be aware of are your horses teeth, bit and back. I have a chiro out every 6 weeks or so, he also makes sure that mine and my daughters saddles still fit correctly. We were having a problem with hollowing out and resistance which ended up being his figure 8 bridle putting pressure on a pretty prominent tooth in the upper jaw! Go figure.

    Good luck with your guy. They can be happy and going for long time with some proper vet guidance and great meds that are now available.



  18. #18
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    There have been lots of great posts here and I won't repeat what's been said, except to say that working with your vet to diagnose what's actually making your horse ouchy is the right first step.

    I'm personally not a fan of feed-through joint supplements. There just doesn't seem to be much research to back them up, they're expensive and you can't always be sure your horse is eating them.

    If you're looking for a less-invasive-than-joint-injection maintenance option, I think Adequan is really worth considering. If you shop the sales, you can do a monthly dose for less than the cost of a feed-through. Plus, it's proven to help joints, and you can be absolutely sure it's getting into your horse at the right dosage.

    I'd expect hock injections are going to run in the $500-700 range for HA, steroid and antibiotic in your area. If hocks are your problem, I think hock injections can make a world of difference in your horse's comfort and performance and may actually be a better value than some of the other options that are more systemic and take longer to work.

    Injecting hocks once doesn't mean you have to do them again, but I think it is reasonable to expect that if your older horse is having arthritis-related hock pain, you're probably not looking at a one-time fix with any of these options. He's going to need ongoing maintenance and management to keep him happy and performing well until his hocks fuse. That's going to include turnout, footing, shoeing and warmup and limits on jumping. It may also require routine veterinary care.



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