SOUND­NESS Ex­er­cise and arthri­tis

EQUUS - - Eq Consultant­s -

Q:My horse is be­gin­ning to de­velop mi­nor arthri­tis, but he is prone to lamini­tis so I know I need to keep him ac­tive. What are some good ex­er­cises for him that won’t stress him too much? He has been started on an MSM/glu­cosamine sup­ple­ment.

Name with­held by re­quest

A:Arthri­tis is the in­flam­ma­tion of a joint. Peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent types of arthri­tis, but in horses, we pri­mar­ily see de­gen­er­a­tive os­teoarthri­tis (OA)---in­flam­ma­tion that, when unchecked, leads to degra­da­tion of the car­ti­lage and the re­mod­el­ing

of the bone in and around a joint. Lame­ness and swelling in a joint are ob­vi­ous signs of ad­vanc­ing OA, but ear­lier warn­ings can in­clude re­duced ac­tiv­ity when the horse is at lib­erty, stiff­ness or mild lame­ness that dis­ap­pears with ex­er­cise, and an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic re­luc­tance to jump, turn around bar­rels or per­form other ath­letic ac­tiv­i­ties.

Horses de­velop OA for a num­ber of rea­sons, and ef­fec­tive treat­ment re­quires iden­ti­fy­ing and ad­dress­ing the un­der­ly­ing cause. Poor con­for­ma­tion, ad­vanced age and obe­sity can make a horse more sus­cep­ti­ble to arthri­tis, and other com­mon causes in­clude joint in­fec­tion, trauma and overuse stem­ming from train­ing or com­pe­ti­tion. Promptly treat­ing causes like trauma, es­pe­cially in younger horses, may lead

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