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OTTBs - health issues in their teens

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  • OTTBs - health issues in their teens

    Does anyone else have an OTTB that has had health issues show up when they were in their mid-teens? My guy raced when he was 3, 4 and 5 and is starting to have some health issues. He will be 15 tomorrow and our vet thinks it's quite possible the issues are related to his racing days. His issues appear to be in his left hock.

  • #2
    I think most of them will show something by their mid teens and many well before that. If their 2nd career is a hunter or jumper, you will find out quicker than if a pleasure horse. In my experience, right hinds have usually been the culprit!
    That does not include the old bow or splint that is a non issue.


    • #3
      In my experience, this is the case with most horses, not just OTTBs. By 15 horses are aging and the morjority will show arthritis.

      But I agree, OTTBs often are more prone to arthritis from their breeding, racing, and the performance disiplines they go into after. Luckily for us and our horses we have a lot of options for maintaining arthritis between smart care and exercise, supps and hock injections you can keep and arthritic horse going for a long time. Also, as the weather gets warmer you may notice your horse feeling better all on his own.
      "Bold Words was classier than all his competition. Straighter knees and a slim, elegant neck." -Nan Mooney My Racing Heart


      • #4
        No, most horses have something brewing by the time they are 15. If it took your horse this long to begin to have arthritic issues I'd be happy. Related to racing? After all these years, who could say.
        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


        • #5
          And if they get 24/7 turnout and good quality forage and work, you can prolong the time that they are sound.
          a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


          • #6
            Most horses are somewhat arthritic by their mid teens--sure, maybe it would have been less severe or come a couple years later if he hadn't raced, but it's pretty common. I've known plenty of arthritic horses that age who never set foot on a racetrack.

            I'm not saying racing has no effect on them as obviously it's very strenuous and that contributes, but IME a lot of OTTBs stay just as sound as any other performance horse. Management is key, though, like DGRH said.
            exploring the relationship between horse and human


            • Original Poster

              Thanks for the responses. My guy isn't unsound, he has been exhibiting signs of pain when under saddle - nervousness, tenseness, rearing/bolting, etc. - so we're working on figuring out what if anything we can do to make him more comfortable...


              • #8
                have you had the Vet out?

                Originally posted by filly78 View Post
                Thanks for the responses. My guy isn't unsound, he has been exhibiting signs of pain when under saddle - nervousness, tenseness, rearing/bolting, etc. - so we're working on figuring out what if anything we can do to make him more comfortable...
                As umpteen of us have recommended on your other threads about this horse, did you, or did you not, have the Vet out for thorough diagnostics?
                Last edited by sdlbredfan; Mar. 21, 2010, 03:43 PM. Reason: remove URL to past thread as pointless...
                RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                • #9
                  Hock changes are common in all breeds in the mid-teens, and there are many ways to treat (feed-through supplements, IM or IV or IA injectables, change of job, change of management, etc.) that can prolong good health despite the problems. The most important part is good diagnostics to find out just what you're dealing with (radiographs are the standard for hock issues) so you don't waste time and money treating the wrong thing, or keep using the horse and making him sore in other areas as he tries to compensate.

                  Good luck.
                  Patience pays.