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Missing cartilage in the stifle?

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  • Missing cartilage in the stifle?

    Hi all,
    This has been on my mind, and I wanted to see if anyone has had any similar experiences, and if they have, what they have done. (If anything.)

    One of my horses was diagnosed a few years back with a bone chip in the right stifle, which was then removed, to the discovery that it had aided in the scraping away of about 50% of the cartilage in the joint. Miraculously, the horse (quite a big, active guy by nature) has not been lame at the walk one day in his life, and never sore or stiff or hot at the joint itself. Of course, he is three legged at the trot and canter, but not head bobbing. He goes about his business as if he were 100% pain free, roughhousing with the youngn's and running full tilt to meet me at the gate every day.

    I have pretty much given up hope to be able to ride him at a gait other than the walk, and I don't even like to do that too much as his stifle locked on me once and I was horrified by the idea that I might be hurting him just because I am too attached to the memory of riding him (he and I are very close...that once or twice in a lifetime partnership!). It never locks in the field despite how much running to and fro he does. All the same, he is now permanently retired, from a ripe 9 years of age, and all because of improper jumping practices when he was under 5 years old.

    Has anyone else experienced anything similar? What have you done? And with what results?

  • #2
    Have you injected it w/corticosteroids? Adequan? HA? If no, there are some good options to explore. Ideally after surgery it would have been injected w/a steroid and then with Adequan and then he would have been put on a loading series of IM Adequan.

    If you do inject it keep in mind that Vetalog is chondroprotective so in this case you might want to stick w/that. Slower acting but probably safer for a joint that degraded.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


    • #3
      A bone chip will ware away at the cartilage likely causing arthritis over time. As cartilage wears away you may eventually get bone on bone which is very painful although that could be many years away. Sometimes adequan. IRAP or HA injection can help. You may want consider equioxx, previcox or bute over time.

      Good Luck!
      Last edited by Fharoah; Dec. 16, 2009, 02:16 AM.


      • #4
        Adequan, Vetalog, HA, and IRAP all may reduce further damage and/or provide symptomatic relief, but nothing in current medicine is able to re-grow cartilage in vivo.
        The plural of anecdote is not data.
        Eventing Yahoo In Training


        • #5
          I've got one with no cartilage in one area of the stifle. At the time it was diagnosed the stifle was injected with HA/steroids and he was sound and rideable for 6 weeks. Another injection after that made no difference, and I retired him at that point. That was about 8 or 9 years ago; he is now coming 22. He does well on a daily dose of Previcox, and has a grand time running around in the field with his friends.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks for all the responses!

            I had never heard of Previcox before this thread, so I looked it up. WHy hasn't my vet told me about this before? It would have come in handy when my horses were shipped--instead of giving bute, I could have given this. And from what it sounds like, a little goes a very long way.

            Are there any natural daily supps you guys have ever heard of, for joint health and/or anti-inflammatory reasons? I know yucca is a good one to feed, but do any of those glucosamine supps work at all, especially on a horse thats not working?


            • #7
              Joint supplements, herbals, etc. did nothing for my horse.


              • #8

                Previcox is a Cox2 inhibitor, previously used for dogs. The much more expensive horse version is Equiox.

                IME, vets have only begun using Previcox in the past couple of years or so. The first vet I knew to offer it was hesitant since using it in horses if "off label." That means you have no legal recourse if it harms your horse. It may also mean that there is little data on the effects of long-term use in horses.

                That having been said, I'll bet that it replaces bute as the NSAID of choice. It's cheap, easier on the gut and appears safe for daily use. A lot of oldsters and schoolies will benefit.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat