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Arthritic Hocks... WWYD?

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  • Arthritic Hocks... WWYD?

    Hi there,
    I'm posting this for a friend. Her 6 yr old TB gelding has just been diagnosed with Arthritis in both hocks. The bones have fused and he's been pretty 'ouchy'. The vet suggested injections. With that said ... She's hoping to be able to treat this conservatively but also be effective. Whats worked for you? Supplements? Magnets? A combination of things?

    On a side note.... He's lightly ridden. Nothing crazy. WWYD?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    I would probably have the hocks injected. You don't want them to consider work to be painful.

    Alternatively could try legend, adequan previcox.

    If the horse is only in light work you may find the injections are more cost effective as they may last longer.


    • #3
      I'd go with injections because it puts the 'medicine' right where it needs to go. I dealt with it and was pleased with the results but it's an ongoing process.
      Ride like you mean it.


      • #4
        When the joint fuses the pain goes away so that doesn't make sense to me. There is also no longer a joint space to inject into so that would not be an option.
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home


        • #5
          Inject the hocks. Consider Adequan and Legend (but quite expensive).

          Give bute! You can give 2g every other day, or 3 days on/3 days off for management.

          I'd also give an oral joint supplement, like Cosequin ASU.

          Light exercise can be beneficial for the old, creaky hock horses - the light exercise serves to "flush" inflammatory mediators from the joints. By light I mean walking, maybe a few minutes of trot, like a horse would get while turned out.


          • #6
            Given his age, I'd start with adequan injections and see if that offers him any relief first. That's quite young to start injecting. IMHO. My vet recommends starting with adequan for any horse under 10 before going to injections. Of course, its a case by case basis, but I'd personally start there and only inject if that didn't work.
            Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.


            • Original Poster

              Thank you for the replies. I will relay the info


              • #8
                Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                When the joint fuses the pain goes away so that doesn't make sense to me. There is also no longer a joint space to inject into so that would not be an option.
                Laurie is absolutely right. I'm going through the same thing, except my horse is 20+ years old.

                Fused hocks in 6 year old is not common, at least not to my knowledge. I'd be concerned that there was something conformational that caused this. Was he raced hard? Did he have any injuries? Injecting the upper joints of the hock may be an option and may or may not bring any relief.

                Supplements and magnets are likely to be as effective as water. If the horse is in pain he needs pain management. Long term daily options would be previcox. Otherwise he could be buted prior to riding.

                I'm managing my gelding on daily previcox. As laurierace mentioned once the fusion is complete, the lower bones of the hock are no longer mobile and therefore no longer cause discomfort. Sounds like that area isn't the problem.


                • Original Poster

                  I made a mistake in my original post.... My friend said one hock is fused the other is not. He tested lame on both sides yesterday. The vet mentioned injecting both hocks? From my understanding on here.... the hock thats fused is not injectable? Or not injectable with adeaquen or legend?

                  To answer a couple questions. The horse was never raced nor trained to race. She purchased him from a girl who was jumping 3ft fences with him at the age of 3. He hasn't had any major injuries that she knows of.

                  The vet said that his condition is odd. She's trying to get as much info as she can. Looks like trying injections is going to be her best solution. Which leads to my next question.... How often is this usually done? Is a case by case situation?


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AA714 View Post
                    The horse was never raced nor trained to race. She purchased him from a girl who was jumping 3ft fences with him at the age of 3.
                    And, Bingo! the reason a horse has arthritis at 6.

                    Injection frequency varies a lot, but you essentially schedule the next one when the positive results of the last one are wearing off. The hock has both upper & lower joints, so maybe the horse fused in the lower hock and the vet plans on injecting the upper because the horse flexed lame on both sides? I've never heard of that but but I suppose it's possible if the horse needs it.

                    It's sad for the horse to be arthritic so young, I hope she can help him.


                    • #11
                      I thought that A) you want the hocks to fuse in this scenario and B) injecting them will slow the process of fusing so the "treatment" is rest and pain management via NSAIDs. Now, it's been awhile since I was around a horse in this situation and it wasn't mine--but I am pretty sure that is what the lameness vet at MSU had my friend doing. After both hocks fused, the horse was comfortable but IIRC, it took nearly 2 years from the time the lameness initially presented.
                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
                        I thought that A) you want the hocks to fuse in this scenario and B) injecting them will slow the process of fusing so the "treatment" is rest and pain management via NSAIDs. Now, it's been awhile since I was around a horse in this situation and it wasn't mine--but I am pretty sure that is what the lameness vet at MSU had my friend doing. After both hocks fused, the horse was comfortable but IIRC, it took nearly 2 years from the time the lameness initially presented.
                        I think this may be why some vets inject with straight steroid would actually hasten the degenerative process. But I think the difference in slowing down the fusing process would be so minimal all I would focus is keeping the horse comfortable, what ever it takes. I know a horse whom was diagnosed with hock arthritis as a three year old. He was injected regularly and used bute at times at kept happy doing his job in the 3.6 jumpers. He did eventually develop ulcers and was given a year off on 100 acre farm, then another year when he became really really sore. Then all of the sudden he came sound. So she was thinking he has fused but has not radiographed yet. He is nine now. So it can take along time for some horses so I would just keep him comfy.


                        • #13
                          What Laurie said.. Sounds like either the vet is wonky or the wires crossed in translation.

                          My advice is 2nd opinion from a vet in another practice.

                          If it's confirmed there's arthritis and no fusing, inject. if it's fused, obviously, don't inject (or for shitsngiggles ask 'em where they plan on putting the injectable).. and put the horse on Adequan and/ or Legend. Keep him moving moderately with light NSAIDs until the joints *do* fuse.

                          And, keep in mind, I stopped reading after Laurirace's first post.