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Puffy joints in babies less than one year...Problem or normal???

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  • Puffy joints in babies less than one year...Problem or normal???

    I've noticed what I would call "puffy" hocks on my 8 month old fast growing WB. I've also noticed this on other peoples babies too....Babies with swollen joints, either in the front legs or the back, that are always sound, uninjured and not painful. Some were over weight but this isn't the case with mine.

    Is some of this considered normal developement of rapidly growing joints? Just excess joint fluid???? What else could be causing this assuming it's NOT OCD or physistis or infection?

    Really need advice from experienced breeders before I go nuts with xrays on a sound horse & totally change my feeding plans! Thanks!
    Last edited by Borntorun; Jan. 4, 2013, 03:05 AM.

  • #2
    Personally non of my foals have ever had puffy/swollen joints (touch wood), but my 2 year old all of a sudden developed semi-soft lumps (think golf ball!) on her back fetlocks. I talked to my vet about them multiple times, and every time he was out he poked prodded and moved the hoof around and didn't seem concerned. It would actually get smaller/bigger depending on the growth spurt. (She was fed a proper diet for growing horses as well, and was not fat.) A few months later my vet was out for x-rays (unrelated) and I had him take an extra shot there just to see if we should be concerned...lets just say they came back perfect! He said it is just the growth plate growing and there was nothing to worry about. (Few!)

    I have only had one other young horse with crazy swelling in her head as a yearling. She looked like she had a crazy helmet on of sorts. The vet came out, checked her over, and said again (like the other vet before) that it was the growth plates. Sure enough when that growth spurt was over it went away and never came back!

    I know they are not joints per say, but thought it might help. Is it possible he did something silly outside?

    The only young ones I have seen with swollen joints, the owners didn't do anything about it and they went onto fabulous careers and were completely sound. Maybe it depends on the severity of the swelling? I would really like to hear what others have to say as well. Sorry I couldn't be of help!
    Elegant Expressions Farm

    Visit us on Facebook too !!

    Comment


    • #3
      If you aren't sure, have your vet check. If there is effusion, (Swelling) then there may be a need for xrays, as well as a feeding program change. Better safe than sorry some time later.
      Tracy Geller
      www.sixpoundfarm.com
      Find me on Facebook!

      Comment


      • #4
        My 10 month old also has puffiness in her ankles and knees that comes and goes. She is fed a RB and kept near the lean side per the vet's recommendation - and she didn't seem to be concerned about the joints, but I am anxious to see what everyone else says!

        Comment


        • #5
          It really, really depends on where the issue is, how long it stays, whether it grows or gets smaller, whether it does that with rest or turnout, etc.

          My first weanling developed a puffy area on the front of one of his hocks, around the 8 month mark or so, give or take. I was very nervous, particularly as he had a good case of physitis in his front fetlocks when I got him at almost 6 months from a high sugar diet and too little turnout. She poked and prodded and said he probably strained something a bit farting around, or maybe even slipped getting up, etc. She said to watch it, check heat, soundness, etc, and call if it got worse or didn't improve. After about a week or so, it was gone, poof.

          If it's one leg, that would seem to be more indicative of some sort of trauma. If it's 2 fetlocks or 2 hocks, that would seem to be more indicative of a growth-related issue. It may well be just a growth spurt where the physis are indeed inflammed a bit, maybe some roughouseing at an inopportune time. It could be diet related. So many possibilities, that it's worth having the vet lay hands on it to get a better idea.
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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          • #6
            I agree with JB - have the vet out since there are many possibilities. Just from the way you describe your youngster I would be tempted to think about "capped hocks".... something they can get from kicking at a hard object (i. e. fence) and is basically not treatable but also doesn't affect the horse's soundness.

            Good luck!
            Siegi Belz
            www.stalleuropa.com
            2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
            Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Nope, no trauma-related injury. Doesn't seem to get better or worse with exercise (which I was originally thinking, like older horses who get stocked-up in their stalls). It is generalized effusion. My gut tells me it's growth related as she is now butt high. She only gets 3 pounds of Senior feed a day which is barely enough, and Orchard/Timothy hay twice daily. She is down right THIN! Possibly too thin. Never stalled but sometimes confined to a small paddock. It is in both hocks and is just soft fluid under the skin. Mostly on the inside of both hocks but some on the front as well.

              Not sure I'll get a straight answer from my vet either, as I doubt they are experts on foal nutrition, but at least xrays will eliminate the obvious!

              Comment


              • #8
                Is that really enough food? I honestly don't know but unless she is out on good grass too it seems intuitive to me that hay should be free choice with that little grain.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree - enough grain, but needs more hay - at least twice that. Not sure why you would give her Senior vs a ration balancer or youngster-feed ...
                  Sunny Days Hanoverians
                  http://www.sunnydayshanoverians.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How much hay, exactly? Twice a day isn't a measurement You can throw hay twice, or even once a day, and have it constantly available.

                    "perhaps too thin" means she needs more food. There is lean that is good for a growing baby, and there is "too thin" meaning, well, too thin.

                    Depending on the Sr feed, it could be absolutely acceptable. TC Sr is so very similar to TC Growth that they are basically interchangeable. But, 3lb is on the low side, nutritionally, and ESPECIALLY if she's "possibly too thin"
                    ______________________________
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It's possible she's not getting enough mineral, causing physitis, if she's thin and not getting recommended amounts of the feed.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        For reference, my filly that is having random puffiness in knees and ankles is 10 months, 24/7 TO, on free choice very nice Timothy with 3 pounds of a ration balancer. She is also thin - but I don't think TOO thin, just ribby. With the RB she should be getting her minerals.

                        My vet said to keep her thin because she is a big baby, and that some flare up of joints is part of the growing process. I am still nervous.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I would get her xrayed. What you are describing sounds like OCD.
                          Eliza
                          www.foxwoodhanoverians.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ticofuzzy View Post
                            I would get her xrayed. What you are describing sounds like OCD.
                            I agree, the way you described how the hocks looked, I would definitely ex-ray.
                            Kris
                            www.edgewoodmeadowfarm.com
                            Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/edgewoodmeadowfarm

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sounds like OCD to me. Consult your vet about when would be the best timing to get some screening x-rays. Your feeding program sounds like it needs an overhaul. Senior feed is not adequate for a fast growing weanling/yearling. Your baby needs more vitamins, minerals and protein than senior feed provides. Poor nutrition can cause OCD.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Having been down this path with my yearling, it sounds like OCD to me as well. Are the veins up the inside of the hocks really big and puffy too?
                                Last edited by FLIPPED HER HALO; Jan. 9, 2013, 06:51 PM.
                                Cloverfox Stables

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  I kinda agree!

                                  Originally posted by Personal Champ View Post
                                  For reference, my filly that is having random puffiness in knees and ankles is 10 months, 24/7 TO, on free choice very nice Timothy with 3 pounds of a ration balancer. She is also thin - but I don't think TOO thin, just ribby. With the RB she should be getting her minerals.

                                  My vet said to keep her thin because she is a big baby, and that some flare up of joints is part of the growing process. I am still nervous.
                                  This is also a big baby and very leggy. She is on the exact ration the breeder had her on so I'm not coming up with this on my own! She gets as much Timothy and Orchard hay as she will eat, which has equated to about 15 lbs. No grass this time of year. She has gained about 50 lbs in the past month that I've owned her and now she weights about 450?. She was definitely too thin before I got her and I'm playing catch-up now with better quality hay. Hay is a problem in my area and I'm paying a whopping $13 a bale for it right now! She was on poor quality Bermuda before. But, her weight is better and her "points" are disappearing. I kind of think she needs more grain so I've slowly starting increasing that too.

                                  As to the feed, well I can't get Growth formula. No one uses it around here, according to my crappy feedstore, they all use the Senior. So I'm stuck with it for now. It's almost identical to Senior anyway. I will look into a ration balancer but I don't know if I can get that either.

                                  I will call the vet for peace of mind but it's gonna cost a fortune for digital xrays. Seems silly on a sound 8 month old!


                                  I'm limited on feed choices and managing young horses is really more of a speciality so not sure the vet will be of much help either. I will see if

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Borntorun View Post

                                    I will call the vet for peace of mind but it's gonna cost a fortune for digital xrays. Seems silly on a sound 8 month old!

                                    According to my vet (who is a surgeon), the vast majority of babies he sees with OCD are perfectly sound.
                                    Eliza
                                    www.foxwoodhanoverians.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      If possible, try to use a vet with experience with young horses and OCD, though if you are in an area where you can't even buy a feed designed for a young horse, I'm guessing that might be tough. Yes, most young horses with OCD are sound. Depending on the breed, the incidence of OCD is high in large horses, I've heard about 30%. (If a warmblood breeder tells you they have never seen an OCD in their young stock or their stallion has never sired a foal with one then they either only have a couple of horses or have only been in the breeding business for a less than a season or simply don't do screening x-rays. Or they are lying or very forgetful.) Some OCDs in very young horses (weanlings/yearlings) resolve on their own with continued growth. Some are benign and would probably never cause a problem other than consternation on PPEs. But some OCD lesions could cause permanent lameness down the road if not treated, and nothing is more expensive than a permanently lame horse. This is one of those things it is good to be on top of.

                                      Re: the feed, figure out what brands your feedstore carries and then see if any of those brands make a ration balancer or anything designed for young horses. Your feedstore should be able to special order products made by the brands that they carry.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Some OCDs in very young horses (weanlings/yearlings) resolve on their own with continued growth. Some are benign and would probably never cause a problem other than consternation on PPEs. But some OCD lesions could cause permanent lameness down the road if not treated, and nothing is more expensive than a permanently lame horse. This is one of those things it is good to be on top of.

                                        Re: the feed, figure out what brands your feedstore carries and then see if any of those brands make a ration balancer or anything designed for young horses. Your feedstore should be able to special order products made by the brands that they carry.[/QUOTE]

                                        Vet's coming next Thursday. Couldn't take it! I'm too worried :-(
                                        Got the feedstore to order Growth Formula but it IS identical, almost to the exact percentages of minerals, to that of the Senior so it's not a crazy idea.

                                        Xrays don't lie, so they will tell the tale. It's not that bad but something is brewing in those hocks! She is very young so it may resolve spontaneously over time. OCD has gotten blown way out of proportion in my opinion. It seems they all have it when you start scrutinizing their joints!

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