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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    15,399

    Default Hock joint question, you anatomists

    Do the upper and lower hock joints communicate?

    I was under the impression that they did not. Ever. But they can in some horses? In older horses?

    Thanks!
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 20, 2004
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    1,805

    Default

    I am not an expert, but in speaking with my vet about chemical fusion (alcohol), she did mention that we would need to inject a dye first and take an x-ray to make sure the lower and upper joints were not communicating as getting alcohol in that upper joint would be obviously devastating. I do not believe that they typically communicate, but there is a possibility due to congenital or acquired defect so it has to be ruled out.

    Not my vet, but an informative article:
    http://drtanis.com/2011/05/12/ethyl-...-joint-fusion/

    So I guess the answer is mostly no, they don't, but there is a possibility they can. Clear as mud?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
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    West Coast of Michigan
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    Default

    I asked my vet that question once and the answer I got was "sometimes they do, mostly they don't". The anatomy of complex synovial structures can be very variable, so I would think anything is possible.
    Click here before you buy.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2000
    Location
    MA
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    12,712

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    Do the upper and lower hock joints communicate?

    I was under the impression that they did not. Ever. But they can in some horses? In older horses?

    Thanks!
    What do you mean by upper and lower?

    There are tarsocrural, proximal intertarsal, distal intertarsal and tarsometatarsal joints.

    Communication between tarsocrural and proximal intertarsal joints is present in most horses.

    Communication between distal intertarsal and tarsometatarsal joints is quite variable.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2012
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    1,961

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by meaty ogre View Post
    I am not an expert, but in speaking with my vet about chemical fusion (alcohol), she did mention that we would need to inject a dye first and take an x-ray to make sure the lower and upper joints were not communicating as getting alcohol in that upper joint would be obviously devastating. I do not believe that they typically communicate, but there is a possibility due to congenital or acquired defect so it has to be ruled out.

    Not my vet, but an informative article:
    http://drtanis.com/2011/05/12/ethyl-...-joint-fusion/

    So I guess the answer is mostly no, they don't, but there is a possibility they can. Clear as mud?
    Eeesh! Whatever happened to "First Do No Harm?"



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 20, 2004
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    1,805

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SwampYankee View Post
    Eeesh! Whatever happened to "First Do No Harm?"
    I know the alcohol fusion thing soulds archaic, but apparently once the joint has fused, most horses return to soundness and comfort. The upper joint of the hock is the only one that moves. During the fusion process the bones grind together due to the degradation of the cartilage, and once they have fused there is no longer any motion which is a relief to the horse. It's the actual fusion process that is painful, and the alcohol not only deadens the nerves but helps to speed that fusion process up significantly. At least that is my understanding after talking with my vet.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 8, 2004
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    Back in the 'nati
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    Default

    meatyogre is correct...fusion of the lower hock joints is a naturally occurring process in many horses. These joints are very low-motion and therefore their fusion has very little or no impact on the horse's gait. However, during the fusion process horses can experience pain and resulting lameness. Alcohol injections are one way to speed up the fusion process. Other methods have also been used to hasten this process, including sodium MIA and surgical drilling, but alcohol has been shown to cause less pain and inflammation.

    Probably way more than you wanted to know



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 28, 2003
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    Hollywood, but not the one where they have the Oscars!
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    Default

    Actually very timely for me...thank you!!
    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
    carolprudm



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