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Jumping an Arthritic horse?

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  • Jumping an Arthritic horse?

    We all know every horse has arthritis if not in a specific area then through their bodies somewhere.

    My horse has an arthritic hock, just one. Legend, supplement, once in a while low level bute (only when I know he's going to be doing alot of work) and hock injections with cortisone. He is sound. This is just maintence to keep him sound and comfortable.

    This is a recent disgnosis, I have not jumped him in a year (no desire to really) but the other day I took him over a course just for the heck of it. (2'3-2'6") It was fun!! He felt great and came back fine the next day.

    My question is do you jump your known to be arthritic horse? If so, what is your maintence regument (if any) for said horse. How high do you normally jump said horse and how often?

    I would like to finish out the year with doing some courses with my horse. Out of no where I rememeber how much I like to jump and how much he likes to do it as well!

  • #2
    Depends on what's wrong and alot of other factors but, if you understand he is going to have a few limits? You can go ahead.

    Are you just using cortisone on those joint injections? Most today have moved on to a newer steroid that is not as potentially damaging to the bone and add HA to the mix. Ask your vet.

    I have found that a few of the oral HA gels do the same as the Legend shot on many of them (and, yeah, that would be the more expensive ones). Also now use the Previcox instead of Bute and find it dramatically more effective on a lower dose.

    Things like attention to his workload, FOOTING, fence height and frequency of jumping as well as a good, daily light excercise program are important to make them last.

    You also need to be selective in where you show and the conditions you are asking him to perform in-that one can cost you a few classes if you err on the side of caution. Ground that is too hard or too deep/muddy will aggravate his joints. Best to avoid that.

    If you are careful, he will be fine.

    And, ya' know, there is nothing wrong with proper use of an NSAID so don't ever feel the need to defend using them if the horse is still ready, willing and able to compete and/or stay on a regular program. Not everybody agrees that nothing is acceptable and retires them to the field at the first sign of age related issues (possibly stopping their own riding too) when they start needing a little help.

    The key is PROPER use in a complete program designed to protect and extend their working life as long as they indicate they are eager to keep going for you. Abuse by others is not a reason to avoid them when they are indicated.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by findeight View Post

      The key is PROPER use in a complete program designed to protect and extend their working life as long as they indicate they are eager to keep going for you. Abuse by others is not a reason to avoid them when they are indicated.
      That is exactly what I am getting at in my post and where I want to be with my horses health. Thank you for writing that, it's a deep statement!

      He has a bone spavin in the back left hock. Everything else Xrays, blocked etc. checked out perfect from vet and my farrier. He is 14 now, with very low mileage. He jumps anything and is a great partner for whatever discipline (except dressage, mentally ruins him ) He has never been jumped consistantly (he does it right so why bother practicing it over and over), never done the full show circuit over jumps, just random show where most times just did some flat classes. He is ridden 4X per week on the flat and turned out every day.

      Yes. Just cortisone in the hocks, that's it. Doesn't Legend have an ample amount of HA? I have him on ProMotion Eq supplement which supports this as well but it is more of a Yucca loaded supplement and I've seen phonomial results with it. I will speak to my vet but what do you have in mind for HA?

      I use Previcox on an older mare alone. Now, it is safe for me to use/for my horse to take previcox in way of bute with the ProM supplement, Legend and with cortisone shots? It sounds like a major concoction. I have thought about using previcox with the above but I got nervous with drug interaction -if any! Help please?

      My post makes it sound like my horse is a crippled mess. He's not but I am a worried mom, I do not want to over due maintenace when not needed but I want to also do whatever I can for him.

      I do feel like a loser saying yeah, I give my horse bute and in the next statement I am asking if I can jump him! I will watch footing at shows and be aware before hand what the conditions may be. My horse is very important to me and I, like you stated Findeight, would rather maintain him and keep him going then to retire him to a field.

      Isn't it true that as long as he is riding the spavin with break down and refuse? Does it refuse to the positive or does it make it a bit better but still, same situation?

      I am acting like my horse is the only horse in the world with an issue

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, if you know EXACTLY why the horse is bothered by something and using him is NOT going to make it any worse? That's when you can use an NSAID...along with other management techniques to prolong his usefulness.

        If you know it is risking futher damage and just masking pain to keep them going? If you continue using them hard and high and depend on pain killers to mask the continuing damage? If you dump it into them because "everybody else" does? That is WRONG.

        The HA in the Legend injection wears off within about 2 weeks, the orals stay the same in their system. There is still a little controversy there with some but, IME around enough high performance sport horses to be able to really form an opinion, the oral HA in LubriSyn and/or Hyalauronex works just as well and is more consistent...continue to try less expensive oral HA preps with none coming close to these two.

        As far as going into the joint with a HA/steroid mix? Honestly...I didn't think anybody used just cortisone any more and if IIRC there are some reasons you may want to not go with the cortisone in light of what is available steroid wise today. Adding the HA to the injection adds little or nothing to the cost and gets the "joint juice" where it is most needed right away.

        I am lucky as am in a big show barn with well managed and healthy campaigners managed under the care of a top sport horse vet affiliated with a major teaching University and a good relationship with the 2 reknowned clinics in Lexingtom Ky. We have access to the latest in diagnostics and treament options.

        My own horse is a (very) senior with long standing hock issues still competing over fences and just gets daily LubriSyn or Hyalaronex, a relatively inexpensive senior vitamin from Smart Pak with glucosamines, chondroitin and yucca. 1 gram of Previcox twice a week. That is IT. Had the hocks done last spring, HA and Medro whatever that is-kind of heavy duty but indicated-there are other alternatives. No plans to repeat that, she is going dead sound in regular work. That's only the 3rd time in 9 years for the injections too.

        I have no idea about the spavin and what it does or does not do.

        Not knocking your vet or your program here but...maybe some research and another opinion? Like I said, did not know anybody was still using the cortisone for joint injections, that was what we used 15-20 years ago and there was a feeling there was some degeneration possible so we moved along to newer generation steroids.

        Vets can be quite good but in a little over their heads in maintaining the aging sport horse. Especially if a large part of their clientele is more recreational or casual show types and not hard working performance horses in regular competition.

        Maybe you need to ask around? See someone actively involved in maintaining a large number of active show or event horses?

        Just a thought, not being judgemental.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

        Comment


        • #5
          Don't feel like you are overthinking this. Even after my soundness vet said I could jump my horse (he has arthritic changes in the one fetlock), I was a little worried. I have a similar program to what Findeight talked about in her post. I do Legends every 4-6 weeks, MSM daily, ample turn-out, good farrier, 5 days a week work, and am very careful about footing. I do try to keep jumping to a minimum and usually only school crossrails or small verticals and leave higher stuff to my lessons. My guy is going great. My vet also said no longing and avoid tight circles, I'm not sure if the same applies for hocks. Good luck!!

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I was told no lunging as well Which is fine, I'd rather ride then lunge anyway. Thanks SH - for understanding my woes of thee horse!

            Findeight - I value your non-judemental opinion seriously, I do. That is why I started this thread to get someone like yourself/knowledge to discuss this with - thank you!

            I don't *think* jumping him will do any other damage that isn't already there however, a horse only has so many jumps and I feel that it is affecting him in some sence of joint operation etc. If I took him off bute (1X in the AM) and the supplement he would still be sound to me - but I don't know what he's feeling (pain tolaration wise) reason why I am maintaning like I am.

            I have always been the type who has never - ever had my horses on any supplement/injections - nothing. Until recently where it seems I am scooping supps every morning. I think I will second opinion as far as vets go re: cortisone shots and look into smartpack with LubriSyn or Hyalaronex. My vet is old school and my farrier is older school with modern knowledge but unlike my farrier my vet is just my vet who treats a range of horses from mild performance horses to the older backyard horse. I would say my horses are in the mild state of performance horses but no where near the top performance horses that require latest maintenace, vets etc. I need to gather some utd knowledge on this!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ozone View Post
              We all know every horse has arthritis if not in a specific area then through their bodies somewhere.
              I don't know if I believe that...
              Surgeon General warns: "drinking every time Trump lies during the debate could result in acute alcohol poisoning."

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ozone View Post
                We all know every horse has arthritis if not in a specific area then through their bodies somewhere.
                No they don't. Many horses DO have arthritis, either due to injury, poor management, being started too early, worked too hard, etc. But not all horses do, there are many who are arthritis-free and healthy, so we can't use "all horses have arthritis" as an excuse for expecting too much from the ones that do...
                Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                We Are Flying Solo

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ozone View Post

                  I have always been the type who has never - ever had my horses on any supplement/injections - nothing.
                  Frankly, until recently, say the last 20 years or so, there was not much out there that actually worked supplement wise. Horses historically were work animals that rarely lived much past 20 and then only if something else did not kill them first. There was no need to keep an aging campaigner going because they just didn't keep them going and you never saw many past early teens still active. Now, with better feed and improved lifestyle, regular vet and dental care and better understanding of nutritional needs? They do keep going and mid teens is no longer the end of their working lives.

                  When I was a kid, we had Formula 707 and Red Cell and we had Bute, that was about it for supplements and treatments. We tube wormed after fasting them for 12 hours twice a year. Now there is a world of research and alot of hooey out there touting this or that. Fancy ads that claim all sorts of stuff with nothing to back them up except celebrity testimonials. Hard not to get sucked into feeling guilty if you are not piling on the supplements to "make them better" because it is the right thing to do. Most of the stuff is the basic expensive piss.

                  Ozone, I might just suggest you try to reduce your Bute to every other day or even 3 times a week if you feel he is maintaining well, go up if needed. I am firmly in the less is more camp with the stuff. And I do prefer the Previcox-mine was getting every other day Bute and now is just on 2 times a week Previcox-with better results then the Bute.

                  Unfortunately, the LubriSyn and Hyalauronex oral HA gels are not sold in the daily packs, only in the quarts or gallons and SPak, good as they are, is not the best price...and it is pricey enough to merit shopping around. And, like anything else, it may or may not help, depends on what is actually wrong. seems to really help if it is lack of joint lubrication due to mild arthritis, if you got a chip or something or a rough grinding surface within the joint, it may be worthless. And some vets don't think it works-mine does and sells it, will match the lowest price we find.

                  I would definately see if you can get a good exam from a more current sport/high performance vet and also get a recommendation for routine management. This is going to cost but you can find out exactly what is going on and tailor your supps and meds to that-long term, that will save you $$ and allow your good horse to keep working longer then throwing money at what may be unneeded, depending on outdated and possible harmful treatment options-IIRC that cortisone alone IA was implicated in degeneration of bone in some cases...but that was what was available. And they did show improvement on it and not all showed any harm at all...but we have better options now.
                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                    No they don't. Many horses DO have arthritis, either due to injury, poor management, being started too early, worked too hard, etc. But not all horses do, there are many who are arthritis-free and healthy, so we can't use "all horses have arthritis" as an excuse for expecting too much from the ones that do...
                    Ahhh, you left out age and normal wear and tear. Arthritis does not mean anybody did anything wrong or mismanaged them. MOST horses that have worked regularly will have some effects in the joints by mid teens-maybe not clinically arthritis. We lump too much together and throw that term "arthritic changes" around too much. Lack of joint lubrication as we all age is as big a problem as any and gets lumped in as "arthritic issues".

                    OPs horse has OCD, so does mine. There is often no specific cause for this, may even be genetic...that is not a reason to park them if they can be managed comfortably and are eager to keep working.
                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have an almost 13 yo QH gelding. I've had him since he was 3- he's the only horse I've owned that I've never thought or tried to sell. (He's the only horse I own right now).

                      His conformation is horrible. Each of his legs goes in a different direction. And when he was about 7 I started having a hard time keeping him sound. I did the pony hunter's on him, and then when he went over (not till he was 5) I did the children's hunters on him and then the adult hunters on him. We showed just about every weekend, he worked hard, and our barn did not have ideal footing.

                      My vet came out, did xrays, looked at me and said "Well we could put him to sleep." He was so arthritic my vet didn't know HOW he wasn't more lame than he was. I gave him some time off, started him on Cosequin, and brought him slowly back to work. He stayed sound for the most part, but I didn't jump him anymore. I used him as a trail horse, we hilltopped a little bit and did some hunter paces.

                      I lost time to keep him in work so I just turned him out for a year. I got a new vet and that took up a very strong interest in him. He recommended a full lameness work up. We retook xrays. The vet said that his hocks had fused for the most part, and thought he saw an old fracture line (Bear had his share of tussles out in the field.) I started him back on a joint supplement (recovery EQ) and my vet injected his hocks with a cortisone and hyaluronic acid. With my vet's OK I started him back to work slowly and we eventually did the low level jumpers.

                      Long story short... I moved away, left Bear with my Dad. Recently I brought Bear to live with me in NC. He's been in work for 2 months now and so far so good. He's on MSM, Corta Flex RX and Steadfast. I ride him 6 days a week, jumping him low one of those days and higher than other day. I'm even going to start showing him again- low level jumpers. This spring I plan on doing another lameness work up and having his hocks injected so he'll be ready for show season.

                      Long winded... consult your vet if you have any questions about jumping. Usually a good joint supplement and injections will do the trick.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                        No they don't. Many horses DO have arthritis, either due to injury, poor management, being started too early, worked too hard, etc. But not all horses do, there are many who are arthritis-free and healthy, so we can't use "all horses have arthritis" as an excuse for expecting too much from the ones that do...
                        I want to agree with you wildlifer really I do. But first off - I, in no way am using my statement of "all horses have arthritis" as an excuse of expecting too much of my horse who does. I opened this thread for knowlegde and to here other people tell me about their horse with the same problem and what they have done for them as far as mainatance to keep them going and not have to chuck them into a field for the rest of their days. Never an excuse

                        You seem to think that the non-arthritic horse outways the arthritic horses but let me ask you.

                        How many horses out there have injuries?
                        Are sport horses?
                        Are worked consisitant (which some would think it 'hard' riding)?
                        Are in poor management?
                        Are confirmationally doomed? Too many to count are. So, yes I will agree with you that the horse in the back yard who has done nothing but range the fields, never had much of a work schedule, never so much as got a cut and are just confirmationally beautiful - sure these beasts probably are not arthritic ... yet. I did not give my horse arthritis .....

                        But the athletes (such as my horse) for much of the most part are. And, there is nothing wrong with that. These horses are lucky to have owners such as us to care for their needs.

                        Findeight - I was going to ask you about genetics. My horse is a drafty X and that is one thing the vet hit on. What breed is he again? Yeah - could be genetics... I have to laugh because when I was younger it was the same ol' supplements as well. Red Cell was a hot comodity then, also Biotin and Bute and, of course, MSM - that stuff has been around for eons. I am going to take the knowledge you posted and go forward with it. Shopping around for best prices (I noticed it is quite pricey for a gallon (Lubi). And, taking what you said yesterday about previcox I started this AM at feeding - nixed the bute and gave 1 previcox. Should I try every other day for a few days then every 3 and so on? See how he does? Also, I will be contacting a sporthorse vet.

                        Scrbear - What a happy (so far) ending to a heck of a situation you were in with your horse. You are a good horse person for standing by him and helping him through, it's paid off in the very long run but I am sure it was worth the wait. Your post has inspired me.

                        Last night I rode him. He was working out forward and gave more as I asked. Did not jump but sure was a great ride!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just as an aside on liquid HA supplements, but do a search on Horse Care for Flex Force. I get mine from Valley Vet and it is $55-ish for a six month supply with much more HA per serving. LONG thread about it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I would agree with Findeight's advice to do a little research on other options for joint injections. Most sport horse vets offer alternatives to cortisone now.

                            That said, 14 is not old and generally, horses like the one described in the OP do better in a regular program with appropriate exercise (just like we do, LOL.) Fitness and progressive conditioning will usually help a horse that has some joint issues (strong muscles/tendons/ligaments are helpful in terms of keeping joints stable and functional.)

                            Definitely think it makes sense to investigate the various options for supplements and stuff like Legend and Adequan. I have one older horse that Adequan did nothing for, but MSM made him a new man. He's 23 this year and still going strong. My "middle aged" guy is 10 this year and is on the MSM too. He doesn't have much in the way of issues, but on cold/damp days he could be a little stiff in one direction; the MSM has resolved that. That one gets Legend before bigger shows or clinics where he's going to be working harder than usual; it definitely adds a bit of ooomph to his step and thus is worth the $$$. I wish I could do the Hylaronex or Lubrisyn but he's a picky sort and won't touch grain with any kind of liquid added.
                            **********
                            We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                            -PaulaEdwina

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ozone, did not mean to imply that you gave your horse arthitis or any such thing, apologies if it sounded that way. I simply wanted to state for random folks reading that not every horse has arthritis, even though many do develop it with time. My post was more generally directed, probably my bad. I am guilty of constantly worrying about lurkers who read something online and take it away as gospel without thinking about the complexity of issues. I may be making little sense, I'm very tired, but I'm a-tryin'!
                              Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                              Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                              We Are Flying Solo

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                                Ozone, did not mean to imply that you gave your horse arthitis or any such thing, apologies if it sounded that way. I simply wanted to state for random folks reading that not every horse has arthritis, even though many do develop it with time. My post was more generally directed, probably my bad. I am guilty of constantly worrying about lurkers who read something online and take it away as gospel without thinking about the complexity of issues. I may be making little sense, I'm very tired, but I'm a-tryin'!
                                Awe ok.. friends again I took your post a little defensive, only alittle but I did. Apologies from me! I never thought about lurkers but you have an excellent point!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I do jump my 18 yo TB, who has arthritis in her hocks and stifles. I tried retiring her from fences to just flat work and she was bored. I then worked very closely with her vet, to make sure that the work she is offered is appropriate.

                                  To keep her comfortable, we do a daily joint supplement w/ MSM and glucosamine, joint injections with vetalog + HA (as needed), and ride 5 days/week. We keep the jumping small (x-rails up to 2'3" verticals usually), and about every other week.

                                  This horse will jump anything that you let her, so I watch very carefully to make sure she isn't overdoing it. I also have the vet assess her every 6 months to make sure we aren't doing harm.

                                  Good luck with your horse!
                                  Reasons I'm crazy, #37: I went out shopping for a pony and came home with a 17hh OTTB
                                  ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Ozone, yeah start the Previcox every other day...that may be enough. Sure was with mine...we went to twice a week and that is keeping her feeleing so good she cannot stand herself (niether can we some days).

                                    Go over to Horse Care and search for LubriSyn-lots of looong threads and some have found similar products that seem to work for some-did squat for mine. Other then the Hyalauronex which is about the same look, feel and taste.

                                    BTW the Hyalauronex is available quite a bit less-still pricey though, shop around the net and remember the shipping on that gallon bottle...but horse can share, its a big cosmetic ingredient these days in skin care products, great for hair, nails and skin...and I take 3 ccs twice a week myself (and my knees don't sound like popcorn anymore) plus mix it in aging cat's food. Some have had great luck with old dogs too.

                                    Anyway, it may not work or it might...as I said, depends on what is wrong. I am hot on it because I was doing monthly Legend IV and even tho Lubi is pricey, it's cheaper then the Legend IV was-they both relieved alot of the creakyness and stiffness in my old horse.
                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      liquid vs. dry HA supplements?

                                      Findeight posted about Lubrisyn and Hylareonex being the best HA supplements, and I respect her opinion as the voice of experience. Just wondering if anyone has tried Gluquestrian, a powdered multi-ingredient supplement including HA.

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                                      • #20
                                        What findeight, Coreene, and Lucassb said. I have an aged campaigner -- a 20-year-old Appendix QH. I bought him when he was 12, and his PPE exam showed that his left hock was arthritic. I bought him anyway because he was the perfect fit for me otherwise. I started him on Cosequin and kept him on it for 4 years until it didn't seem to be doing enough. During this time I showed him in the 2'6" and 3' divisions. The 3' was a little too hard for him, so he became my daughter's horse. When I saw that the Cosequin wasn't enough anymore, I put him on Lubrisyn because of the great reviews on COTH. It worked great, and I wished I'd had it when I was showing him at 3'. About a year ago, I couldn't afford the Lubrisyn anymore and COTH came through again. People were giving high praise to Flex-Force, so I tried it. His lead changes are better than they were when he was on the Lubrisyn. It is a great product, and it is very affordable. BTW, the horse still jumps 2'6" courses regularly and is doing great.

                                        As far as powdered vs liquid HA supplements, there is no research that I'm aware of that has tested that. On another thread, one poster said it was proven that liquids are better than powders and cited a review article. Nowhere in the article was the liquid vs powder issue addressed. So, beware and check the facts yourself. When I switched from Lubrisyn to Flex-Force, I chose the liquid because that's what I had been feeding and it worked. I'm reluctant to change now because the liquid Flex-Force is working so well. There doesn't seem to be enough information out there (either research or anecdotal reports) to make me comfortable enough to make the change to a powder or pellet.

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