Hock Stiffness

This topic contains 9 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  pflady 1 year, 11 months ago.

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  • barrel_racer15 Original Poster barrel_racer15
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 7

    I have a 22 year old pinto mare that I just recently bought. Her previous owners told us that she had an old injury in her right hock but said she fully recovered and had been back to heavy work. They then told us that she still got stiff in her hocks and they had been thinking about starting hock injections. I wanted to get some opinions on hock injections. She is older and does have a heavy work load. I ride her about 5 times per week. I compete in gymkhanas almost every weekend in the summer. When riding her during the week I do not practice gymkhana events, usually a trail or light ring work to keep her moving. Her right hock is significantly larger than the left. Her previous owners said that her legs have looked like that for the whole 6 years they have owned her. I have had a few different vets look at her and they have all said that to the naked eye her hocks do not have any problems. I know there are quite a few options out there and want to see what other people have tried and what has worked for them.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Is she showing signs of stiffness? If not, best to do nothing. Your vets apparently see no problems, and I would trust them over opinions from people who don’t know your horse, at least as far as medical issues are concerned.

    It is never the horse's fault

    barrel_racer15 Original Poster barrel_racer15
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 7

    I have never had the vets do an ultrasound or anything like that just what is obvious to the naked eye. She is stiff in the right lead canter. She is completely fine in the left lead only has problems with the right lead. Her previous owners said that it is worse when she is out of work and during the cold months. Where I live it gets to negative 30 degree temps. and snows a lot. Unfortunately I don’t have access to an indoor on a regular basis to keep her in shape. The previous owners just said they had thought about doing them because of her stiffness in the winter.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    My boy is stiff on the left, partly due to a really bad fall when he was young (went over backward and still has scars). Massage therapy has worked wonders for it, and I want to try acupuncture if ever I can find someone to do it. Perhaps you might try that? A good massage therapist will show you how to do it yourself, and it is a lot less invasive that injections (probably cheaper also). Of course, my case is different because his stiffness is more from the back than the hocks. Mine also recommended a sports rub followed by keeping a hot towel on his back prior to riding, but I’m not sure you can do that part with a leg issue. Still, the her main point was keeping the muscles relaxed and warm as best I can. How can you live in such a cold place? We start whining here when the temperature goes below 60 (Virginia).

    It is never the horse's fault

    St.Georg
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Hi Barrel Racer,

    first, it is quite cruel to ask a previous injured, old horse to still have a “heavy work load” and race around barrels. This mare should have a nice, easy workout everyday to keep her happy in her seasoned years.
    That being said, I strongly NOT recommend any injections. The wear and tear of her pretty hard life can not be reversed but you can give her comfort for the years to come. I use with great success Back on Track products. Recently I added hock-wraps to my mare’s problem area. It works wonderfully. I also support her with a rather old-fashioned supplement called Myristin in combination with Glucosamine. In the winter, when joints ache more due to cold weather I add a quarter pill of Previcox (actually dog pills – ask your vet).
    Be kind and give your horse what she deserves but don’t waste any money on injections.

    BLBStables
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 4

    Hi, my first question is do you have her on any type of joint supplement. I suggest one with glucosamine msm and HA. Next, I would suggest starting her on a joint supplement if not on one already and also start her on a product called STP or Stop the Pain. Its an all natural pain reliever no bute in it. I have several of my top performance horses on it. Including my 11 year old harness racing stallion l, it makes him feel great and has never upset his stomach ever. He races and still acts like a 4 year old. He is a picky eater and never refuses to eat grain with stp in it. If you do not see any improvement with these options i would definitly suggest having your vet back out to re-examine her hocks and do flex tests etc. she is an older mare doing a tough job so definitely get her started on a joint supplement and stp as soon as possible. Also after you work her if she has to be stalled make sure to rub her legs down including her stifles with a good liniment product. Oh and lots of cookies!! Good luck and have fun riding!

    Lise
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Hi Barrel Racer, first I would say to keep your horse in work,just so long she is enjoying it and doesn’t get extremely fatigued doing what you do. Just like humans,it is important for horses to stay active in order to be healthy. I have been taking care of my horse homeopathic-ally for almost a year now, and have learned a lot in the way of how their bodies work. Have you ever thought about your mare maybe having arthritis in her injured hock? As far as the hock injections go, do NOT do those. Her body doesn’t need that sort of thing to deal with, what it needs is something it would know how to use. Which is where herbs come in. My sisters horse in her mid to late teens and we recently put her on an herbal arthritis supplement. It has helped her significantly with her stiffness. I would highly recommend going to Naturalhorsenetwork.com and looking around at the products they have. It has been my go to place for everything horse supplement wise. You can also email the lady who owns it and ask her any questions you may have about your horse. She’s super helpful. Also feel free to ask me anything, taking care of horses as naturally as possible is a real passion of mine!

    Quitocat77
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 6

    Hi, I commend the previous owner for telling you all of that. It shows that they truly care. If it were me I would have her right hock x-rayed. Two to three films should be enough. Cost is usually $35-50/ film. If there is arthritis in that one and she is stiff in both then more than likely she has arthritis in the left too, but save yourself the $ and do only 1. I recommend going to an Equine Hospital or University for this. They usually have better equipment and experience than most mobile vets unless you live in a heavy horse area. See what the vet sees and then if they see any arthritis I would personally inject her. I have cutters down to pasture horses and have had hock issues in a 3 year old that was in cutting training and came up lame and recently a 15 year old Paint gelding that has had a very easy life and spent most of his life well cared for in a pasture. With that said, hock injections are great for them, especially if they are being used. There are no side affects and make the horse so much more comfortable. Just make sure that you are monitoring her hocks via x-rays each year. You just want to make sure that there are no significant changes over time that might cause permanent damage if she is used too hard. Also make sure her feet are trimmed properly (properly is the key word here) every 5-6 weeks. This will prevent many, many issues and keep her hocks healthier. Have fun with her and she is lucky to have someone who cares enough to look into keeping her feeling good.

    Quitocat77
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 6

    I love SilverLining Herbs. http://www.silverliningherbs.com. They are fantastic!!

    pflady
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 25

    I don’t know if I missed it or not, but has anybody done a lameness exam – you know, flexion tests. Those aren’t too expensive and will at least indicate whether she even needs injections. My then-15 year old gelding had very bad hocks – would buck if you asked him to canter and couldn’t walk straight down a hill. He had steroid joint injections, which only improved function for about the length of recovery time (4 weeks). The vet then recommended ethanol joint injections, which I thought about long and hard and finally had them done. These injections accelerate fusion of the bones in the hock and kill nerve endings in the hock so the horse doesn’t feel pain while the joints are fusing. He now gets Cosequin 2x a day and an Adequan injection every month. That and access to regular exercise keeps him feeling good. But first do flexion tests to see if your mare really needs anything major done.

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