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Surgically Removing a Spur In Hocks?

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  • Surgically Removing a Spur In Hocks?

    Hi everyone, I've got a bone spur question...I tried to search previous threads but didn't have much luck...
    I've got a nine y/o TB gelding, I've had him since he was four and we did purchase him with a minor spur in his left hind. He also drags his left hind slightly; because of this I kept him for about eight weeks before paying for him and had no issues with either problem. He's been used lightly but consistently, typically around 3', jumping twice and hacking once or twice a week. I leased him out last year and the girl was a little heavier than me and coming back to riding. When I got him back he was very back-sore and just slightly off. Still getting clean changes and no behavioral issues, pinning in hacks etc. we had a full exam done on him with new x-rays a few weeks ago and his spur is pretty darn big now. It's an upward facing spur-like it hooks up..forgive my ignorance on this, I've been blessed with low maintenance horses for years so my knowledge of lameness has diminished quite a bit.

    So, vet and trainer recommend that we continue with injections and see how things go. He's also on a low dose of daily Bute but is still just a tad off. My trainer brought up talking to the vet about surgery to remove the spur. I'm waiting for him to call back to discuss this but thought I'd throw this out to y'all

    What do you guys think? Anyone have experience with removing spurs? We also briefly talked about alcohol injections to try and get the hocks to fuse but that's a long lay up and he's serviceably sound now. I'm just worried about long term. He's a great horse easy and wins in the local circuit. I'd originally bought him as a resale project, I'd still like to sell him eventually, but also wouldn't be heartbroken if I was 'stuck' with him.

    Thoughts? Other ideas? Thanks!
    Last edited by h/j4life; Sep. 28, 2013, 04:38 PM.

  • #2
    Mine had a spur in her stifle. I was told that surgery wasnt an option because surgery would just cause it to come back and be larger the second time around. I went with previcoxx and that helped a lot. Thats safer than bute. I also did injections (not fusing injections) and that helped too. In the end, she was retired but for many other reasons. Good Luck!


    • #3
      I have had many horses with this condition. Some of the management has been electromagnetic hock boot and blanket, routine injections, saripin in back accupuncture points, accupunture, myofacial release massage and chiropractor. Also adequane and legend. Different therapies work better or worse on different horses, so I try to only Change one thing at a time to see which are most beneficial. Then I concentrate on therapies that work for each individual. Would never do that surgery unless horse is useless. Hock changes are usually very manageable, even bad ones.


      • #4
        Bone spurs are osteophytes that form secondary to osteoarthritis within a joint (which is extremely common in the hock joints of horses). Unless there is a direct issue (e.g. it formed directly underneath a tendon and therefore the tendon is inflamed and causing a significant tertiary issue), I would leave it alone. As the osteoarthritis progresses, more osteophytes will form and the current ones will get larger. So I see it as a completely unnecessary surgery, especially considering the horse is serviceably sound. Instead of alcohol injections, the vet can start injecting steroids that are known to progressively enhance the progression of joint fusion instead of the ones that are kinder to the articular cartilage.

        On an added note, surgery in a joint is risky. If it gets infected, the horse will likely be finished.


        • #5
          I have a horse with a bone spur in the hock. He does drag his toe a bit and has been managed with injections. I would stay away from surgery, there's just too many risks.


          • Original Poster

            Talked to the vet and he agreed. It may come back larger. He's already being injected and vet seems to think that it may just be mechanical, not necessarily painful. Guess it's continuing with injections (forgot to include that we have been injecting, having to do them closer to every four months). I was blessed with sound horses for over 15 years, could be much worse.