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DJD in the knees?? Suggestions please...

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  • DJD in the knees?? Suggestions please...

    A friend of mine has a very sweet mare with arthritic knees. At the time she bought her, she was sound, no PPE done, and she was told by the previous owner that the mare had mild arthritis in her knees. She'd been doing 4-H and lessons and things like that.

    She is 14 years old, about 15.2hh, and some sort of stock horse. She is beefy, but balanced. She gets no grain, just lots of grass and hay.

    She was put into work but seemed to get sore. So they stopped working her, turned her out, and she sort of got lost in the shuffle.

    She's been turned out now for 2 months. Over the last few weeks the vet and farrier have been out working on her and they do believe it is in fact her knees that are the issue. My friend is now buting her, 1 gram a day, to see if that helps at all.

    Both vet and owner are kind of old school and conservative. I am just wondering what else can be done to help this little mare out. I have no experience with DJD in the knee.... anyone have any idea what the prognosis is longterm? What about IM Adequan? Devils Claw? MSM? DMSO?

    The owner is unlikely to go further than bute (hate to say it) and will just toss her out in the field for the rest of the year... but if I can offer some insight she's probably willing to let me make an attempt at getting her sound(er).

    I guess I am a little saddened by the whole thing. She is a good horse, with a good mind, and at 14 it seems like she should have lots of years left.... and not have been run into the ground already.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Come on guys NO ONE has had a horse with arthritic knees??
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

    Comment


    • #3
      Honestly, I won't touch a horse with knee issues with a 10 foot pole. I've seen way too many progress very rapidly to huge, sore knees with limited flexion and no way to make them better.

      Radiographs would be helpful. If there are chips in there, taking the chips out may help.

      Injecting the joint may be helpful, with either HA, Adequan or steroid. I know one of my vets just uses steroid in old knee horses, as it does make them much more comfortable pretty quick, and is cheap.

      Legend or Adequan may be helpful, but if the knee is bad, it may be too late for the injectibles to help much.

      Surpass may help.

      I don't think there's ANY way to help the mare on the cheap, and I would be shocked if turning her out made anything better. I don't think I've ever seen a sore knee that's laying down bone get better without some pretty aggressive management, and even then "better" is still not "sound."

      Comment


      • #4
        But it's not your horse.....

        Great that you want to offer suggestions, but it's not your horse so you can't really do anything, right? If the owner doesn't want to treat the horse, what are you left with?

        Of course there may be things that can be done, but like Simkie said, you need radiographs etc. first to figure out what is going on exactly and then come up with a course of treatment. All costs $$ and if the owner wants to just turn out and treat with Bute, then that's probably all that will happen......

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Ok, thanks. My friend called last night and we were chatting about her, which is what prompted me to post. I was kinda concerned that there wasn't a whole lot that can be done to get her comfortable enough for work, but that maybe some other options aside from bute + turnout would help a bit...

          The owner would like to see her come sound, at least enough for light work. She won't keep her if she is not ridable.

          Perhaps the best we can do is find her a companion home.
          We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, if the owner wants to try to make her sound, all it takes is $$

            Start with radiographs to evaluate what, exactly, is going on. Send to surgery if there are chips. Joint injections to quiet down the inflammation in the joint and lube everything up. Support with IM Adequan and IV Legend and Surpass on the joint. There are no guarantees, though.

            It impossible to say how the mare will progress/improve without radographs.

            Comment


            • #7
              I do have a horse that I am willing to spend $$ on but would like to hear of other management options than what is currently being done: rads were done when purchased a few years ago and then yearly. No major changes -- no chips -- but supportive therapy with Legends & Adequans and lately Surpass. In the last few months he appears to be more uncomfortable. Not willing to extend leg on farrier stand, not willing to keep leg bent for farrier work, short strided. Rads will be done again in a couple weeks. He's obviously sore at the moment. Any ideas or experience with different trimming/shoeing?
              Susan B.
              http://canterberrymeadows.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                We have injected knees w/Adequan with really great results. Remember it was originally tested on knees *IA* - not IM.

                Otherwise I'm w/Simkie. No bad knees for me, please. They are at best managed and at worst crippling and usually somewhere inbetween
                "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                ---
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by NCSue View Post
                  I do have a horse that I am willing to spend $$ on but would like to hear of other management options than what is currently being done: rads were done when purchased a few years ago and then yearly. No major changes -- no chips -- but supportive therapy with Legends & Adequans and lately Surpass. In the last few months he appears to be more uncomfortable. Not willing to extend leg on farrier stand, not willing to keep leg bent for farrier work, short strided. Rads will be done again in a couple weeks. He's obviously sore at the moment. Any ideas or experience with different trimming/shoeing?
                  Adequan and Legend do not have an "s" on the end Both can be used directly in the joint, which is usually more effective than IM/IV.

                  IRAP is another option to address inflammation in the joint.

                  I find it suspicious that a horse with no chips and no changes is so sore on a joint. What did he do before you got him (job wise?) Did the vet have an explanation for his lameness?

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Yes this mare in particular is quite in between... sad, really.

                    Owner lent her to a friend as a companion for the winter, so hope she fares ok.
                    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Once the hyaline cartilage is destroyed and replaced by fibrocartilage, there is nothing that can be done. The only way to tell if fibrocartilage is present is scoping the joint. By the time this has happened only palliative care is possible (Surpass, bute, Legend, NOT Adequan, etc.).

                      IRAP and Tildren may supress the inflammatory response but once the quality hyaline cartilage is gone, it is gone forever. Fibrocartilage will turn to bone in time.

                      The space one sees on X-rays can only tell if a cartilage layer is present, not the type of cartilage.

                      Reed

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                        I find it suspicious that a horse with no chips and no changes is so sore on a joint. What did he do before you got him (job wise?) Did the vet have an explanation for his lameness?

                        There has been significant trauma since last rads -- he flipped in a trailer. Been several months but knee seems to be getting worse. I expect rads will show a marked difference this go around.
                        Susan B.
                        http://canterberrymeadows.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by NCSue View Post
                          There has been significant trauma since last rads -- he flipped in a trailer. Been several months but knee seems to be getting worse. I expect rads will show a marked difference this go around.
                          Wow. Shame you didn't get radiographs directly following. Any chips or fractures have had lots of time to really cause damage. Chips are definitely one of those things where the longer they're left in, the worse the prognosis is. Removed right away, they rarely cause problems.

                          Good luck.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                            Wow. Shame you didn't get radiographs directly following. Any chips or fractures have had lots of time to really cause damage. Chips are definitely one of those things where the longer they're left in, the worse the prognosis is. Removed right away, they rarely cause problems.

                            Good luck.

                            Hindsight is . . . hindsight. There were other areas of his body that were getting attention and no symptoms that knee(s) were stressed at that time. Rads are being done on Monday.
                            Susan B.
                            http://canterberrymeadows.com/

                            Comment

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