EQUUS - - Eq In Brief -

Bone or soft tis­sue in­juries can con­trib­ute to arthri­tis in sev­eral ways. The first is ob­vi­ous: Sud­den, mas­sive in­flam­ma­tion in the wake of a se­vere in­jury can lead to the de­struc­tion of car­ti­lage (see “How Arthri­tis Hap­pens,” page 46) and set the stage for the devel­op­ment of arthri­tis. Like­wise, pen­e­trat­ing in­juries, such a punc­ture wounds, are par­tic­u­larly dev­as­tat­ing to joints be­cause they can in­tro­duce in­fec­tious or­gan­isms to the joint space.

Mus­cu­loskele­tal trauma can in­crease the like­li­hood of arthri­tis in less di­rect ways as well. The in­ac­tiv­ity and loss of con­di­tion­ing re­sult­ing from the stall rest needed for re­cov­ery can play a role, for in­stance. Also, any com­pen­satory pos­tures and move­ment that the horse uses to spare a sore limb, even for a short pe­riod of time, can stress other joints.

If your horse sus­tains an in­jury you will, of course, ini­tially fo­cus on help­ing him re­cover and heal. But as you do, keep the potential longterm con­se­quences in mind. Ask your vet­eri­nar­ian if there are mea­sures you can take to min­i­mize the risk of arthri­tis down the line. These may in­volve feed sup­ple­ments and/or spe­cific re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and re­con­di­tion­ing tech­niques.

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