11 year old hunter/jumper has arthritis in the SI region - long term effect of a fracture of that region 7 years ago. Goes around sound and happy for the most part - usually takes a few "off" steps to start with at the trot then warms up out of it and goes around beautifully. Flexions are negative on all of the other joints (ankles, hocks, stifle, etc).
I'm interested in helping to maintain him as he ages and of course, I would love to find a way to prevent him even having to take those few "off" steps.
Things we've tried: he is on 5000 mg MSM/day (for an unrelated respiratory issue) and SmartFlex. Did not see improvement. Ditched the SmartFlex and did the loading dose of Adequan plus monthly injections - no improvement.
Vet doesn't feel it is necessary to continue Adequan since it did not help in this situation (I've had it be wonderful for other high motion joint issues, however).
Vet suggested trying Legend (had no idea if it would work) - but from what I am reading - the SI joint is low motion and has very little synovial fluid around it, which seems to be where Legend has its effects. But if someone here has a horse with SI arthritis and has had success with Legend, I'm willing to try it. Anyone?
Injecting the joint is an option, but have been told that most likely this arthritis will be something I'll have to deal with even in the face of injections - telling me they might not help that much. And it is a bit of a dicey procedure requiring me to haul him to a local university for them to insert the foot long needle. If this being done just once a year helps, I would do it - but I'm concerned the effect wouldn't be for very long and it is somewhat unrealistic to haul down there for more frequent injections.
Other ideas I had was to bump up his MSM to more like 10,000 or 12,000mg/day. Anyone seen a positive effect of MSM in this region?
Additionally, going to try longer warm ups and try out the Back on Track products to see if the infared heat will help. Not holding breath since the joint is SOO deep down in there and the heat would have to get through an awful lot of muscle.
It is a tricky area to try to help. Let me know what has and has not worked for you guys! Thanks!
One thing to consider is early canter work, like just a bit of walking, then let him canter on each lead in whatever frame he likes, as part of the warmup. That puts the most movement in that area, and can be very useful for quickly limbering up the stiffer body parts.
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^^^ Thanks for that idea. Horse actually prefers to run around a bit before settling down to work - now I have an excuse to let him.
Curious if anyone can give me feedback on the effectiveness of BOT products for this particular issue. (Not going to lie - would like to know it has a chance of working down that deep before spending the $$!)
Also should mention the horse does get regular chiropractic work - he was evaluated the first time without me there and without any knowledge of past history or problems - and the main thing the guy found was soreness deep in the SI region. One the exact side that he fell on. I was sold.
I've always heard that the typical joint supplements don't work on the SI. Injections and/or shockwave seem to be the preferred treatments.
MSM at 10,000 mg (or more) per day is a good idea anyway though.
"You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince
I should say my particular vet is uncomfortable doing the injections in the field - would refer to a university.
I do know of another vet that will do them on site. So yes, I could go that route. I will probably call and price it out.
I've never injected directly into joints before - I guess it varies pretty wildy as far as how long each injection lasts and probably will be a "try it and see" sort of thing. But to the poster whose sister did injections - any idea how long in between?
Go for the injection. Go with someone who does lots of them, and make sure they are doing it ultrasound guided. Two horses I know only get them every other year (and another horse gets it every year), so its not necessarily something you are going to need to do frequently. It justs depends.
Other than that, I'd be strengthening the muscles around the joint as much as possible. Since its such a low motion joint, you can do a great deal to stabilize it with big muscles.
I personally like the BoT products before work (especially in the winter) to loosen the horse up. Look for a used back pad on ebay. You should be able to find one to try in the $30 range. I think they retail around $60. I used that for quite a while before I sprung for the easier to deal with sheet for $250.
But to the poster whose sister did injections - any idea how long in between?
I don't know, because the horse was subsequently sold. But I occasionally see the new owner, and she was still happy with him. I think the vet was anticipating once a year, or even less frequently. I think that the theory was that, beacuse is is a low motion joint, regular exercise and oral jpint supplements would keep the joint "good" for a long time.
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I would try the injection. Worked wonders on a horse I'm leasing who had a little hitch in his getalong. There's no telling if it would have to be repeated, and you could always decide not to, but once is definitely worth trying, IMO.
Although yes, the needle is long, there is nothing particularly "dicey" about it in expert hands, when compared with any other similar procedure.
We have had great success with Serapin injections done just around the SI joint. I think it is combined with a little Lidocaine and maybe one other ingredient... Each treatment's effect lasts at least six months so far with our SI guys and costs around $150 I believe... Done by a vet who is also a licensed chiro and acupuncturist. Also feed Turmeric as a cheap antioxident/anti-inflammatory - recommended by Oprah!
My horse responded extremely well to the injection. He only needed it once and has been fine ever since (that was three, no four years ago). We did a bone scan to diagnose what presented in this horse as a mystery lameness.
All the supplements in the world had no positive effect until I did the injection. I would skip the feed-through stuff and inject since you know yo have an existing problem. Don't waste years of your horse's useful life on oral supps that have almost uniformly been shown to be ineffective!
Don't waste years of your horse's useful life on oral supps that have almost uniformly been shown to be ineffective!
Thanks for the kick in the a$$! Have a few calls into vets that can do the injection on the farm and will discuss the injection again with my regular vet. It does sound like that is the best route to take and hopefully it will help.
One of my horses has SI problems. After many, many appointments and big bucks on other vets, my awesome chiropractor, who is also a vet found that my horses problem was the SI. Since my horse is insured she suggested I go to CSU and get a bone scan to confirm it. Sure enough, she was right. I followed her suggestion and did the SI injection that is above the joint. It sounds like the same injection that Candico had on her horse. She goes in about 3 inches and injects saripin around the ligament. (mixed with a couple other things but that is the main thing) She does this at the barn and it costs about $180 and I have it done every 6 months to a year. It is not nearly as risky as going into the joint and she says she has much better results as opposed to going into the joint. According to her, since the joint is so low motion, most of the pain comes from the surrounding area of the SI. If a horse doesn't respond to the shallow injection she will go into the joint but prefers to do the least invasive things first.
I have a mare who had some sort of SI injury before I got her. My awesome vet/chiro opted to do shockwave therapy on her (in conjunction with chiro/acupuncture) and it made a big difference in her overall comfort level.
I don't know if it would help with an arthritis situation, but it might be worth asking your vet (or a vet who is experienced with SW therapy if yours isn't) about.