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Monday, 3 July 2017

Bone Spavin - How To Treat A Horse With This Terrible Disease!

What Is Bone Spavin? 

Bone Spavin in horses is another name for osteoarthritis which is a growth made up of bone in the lower hock. A horses hock has lots of joints which most have a big amount of movement. Bone spavin can cause lameness and can be caused by a lot of different reasons. It is a disease that affects middle to older aged horses although some younger horses can also get it (called Juvenile spavin). It can cause thinning of the joint, hardening of the lower hock and in severe cases you can sometimes she fusion of the bones in the hock.  

What causes bone spavin? 

The most common cause of bone spavin is a hard work load for an extended amount of time. This is why is it most common in older horses as they have had a longer working life. Show jumping and eventing are common disciplines for this disease to occur in. A horse that has bad conformation is also at risk, in particular, a horse that has cow or sickle hocks 
Any reason that a horse has extended severe force to the hock. If there is extensive tension in the ligaments at the front of the hock can also cause bone spavin.  

What are The Symptoms of bone spavin 

The Symptoms start very small with slight lameness or stiffness which may improve with exercise. You may also see a lack in performance (horse knocking down poles or feeling weaker than usual. You will be able to see a slight change in the gait, toe dragging or just coming up short in the back end.  
Your horse may also develop secondary symptoms such as a bad back. As the disease progresses you will start to see worse lameness, swelling around the hock and worsening of performance.   

How can You treat it bone spavin?  

You should phone the vet is if your horse has any of these symptoms.  
Your vet will probably start on some flexion tests and then take some x rays of the hock along with a pain killer and anti-inflammatory. Your vet will probably arrange a farrier to come and do some corrective work with ether trimming of shoeing. You may also be recommended to give your horse some good quality joint supplements 
It is also important to remember that even if you catch the disease quickly, it is progressive and might only be slowed down.  
A horse with bone spavin will benefit with daily work either in hand or ridden. Turning a horse out to the field can be beneficial as the will be move active that standing in a stable.  
In worse cases, the horse may be given a anti-inflammatory with injection into the hock such as steroids which means the horse does not feel the pain. There are also drugs for cartilage growth and also has the same anti-inflammatory affect. Examples of these are polysulphated glycosaminoglycans or hyaluronan.  
The Last option are some surgical attempts which include destruction of the joint cartilage and filling holes with bone grafts. The horse will then be lame until the bone has fused which can be accelerated by exercise.  

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