Stifle problems

This topic contains 27 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by bri bri 4 years, 2 months ago.

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  • bri Original Poster bri
    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 6

    My horse danny boy is weak in his hind quarters. His stifle joint will lock and it just seems super painful. We have had it checked out and I was recommended doing lots of canter in circles, backing up, and hill work. I was wondering if you have anything else that might help?

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Horse massage would help to adjust the horse stifle.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    My horse had the same problem. My vet prescribed injections of estrone (a female hormone which helps to strengthen the ligament in the stifle joint.)Treatment usually consists of 2 injections in the muscle twice weekly for 4 consecutive weeks, then as needed therafter.

    Also important is exercise. Alot of times the stifles become weak from lack of exercise. I make sure that my gelding is always gets sufficient exercise. It’s recommended that you do alot of work up and down hills. Consistent walk/trot work especially up and down hills, will build back up the muscles that support the stifles. Works well in geldings and stallions, not so much in mares.

    Some other therapies include:

    -The infusion of counterirritant within and around the medial and middle patellar ligaments will cause scarring and shortening of these ligaments which will make it extremely difficult for the patella of the stifle to lock in the upward position.

    -Resection of the medial patellar ligament is a surgery that will prevent the stifle from locking.

    Always consult your veterinarian.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    My old guy has stifle probs as well… Locks up on occasion– ouch!!

    I try to have him get some kind of light work every day, and it seems to help. Also, slight hills w/t, as well as canter/walk transitions and a bit of piaffe. At 24, he’s still going!!!

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    Oh…. And he gets LED light therapy when needed!

    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 21

    I would actually NOT recommend circle work until the muscles are strengthened! Circles are VERY hard on a horse and too much could do more harm than good. Lots of long and low work, hill work, trail rides. The more trails the better. 24×7 turnout if possible, ideally on a slight slope.

    You could try an injectible like Adequan, depending on the actual issue it may benefit the horse.

    I have an older TB (retired) who used to have this issue. With lots of turnout on slight hills he has not had a problem.

    Sundance Acres
    home to 6 overly spoiled, fat, shiny, adorable horses, and 4 cute barn kitties

    NinaJD NinaJD
    Topics Started: 8Replies Posted: 139

    As SAcres said, circles are a bad idea.
    My horse has an old injury to his stifle, so a bit different then a locking stifle. But my vet told me, no circles, no trotting and very light cantering. Hill work is good, backing is alright, but a lot of times it hurts for him to move backwards, so don’t do too much of it. Also putting poles on the ground or making him step over small logs. No collection whatsoever either. But again, an injury to a stifle is a lot different and has different treatments and lameness issues than just a locking stifle.

    you can try a homeopathic remedy to help with his pain. The only downfall of a locking stifle is no matter what you do, it will always lock up. Maybe only once a year, maybe more as he ages..but it’s not something that will go away.

    "Take the time it takes, so that it takes less time."
    "Expect a lot, accept a little, reward often."
    Pat Parelli

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 4

    Long straight lines at the trot, no tight corners, hill work is great, trot up the hill and walk down to begin with, riding a “working walk” to warm up the stifle is key. The more time they can spend moving as long as it is not an acute recent injury the better 🙂

    "No hour is wasted that is spent in the saddle." -Winston Churchill

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Working him up and down hills will help him. If you go up and down hills, try doing it side ways for a while. Start at the bottom of the hill and go diagonally across. at the same time start to move slowly upward on a diagonal line. Go back and forth until you reach the top. Do the same thing going down the hill (kind of like a beginner snow skier traverses down a medium size hill). This really helped my horse. He had the same problem.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 4

    Lots and LOTS of trotting is what I was recommended and over time seen results with.

    Dutch Warmblood
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    If no arthritic complications (OCD etc) have been diagnosed via ultrasound/x-ray,
    turnout and exercise are key. Correct, circles are tough on your guy, especially on the outside leg. Hills are good at a walk. If your horse can’t back up in a straight line at least 4 paces, something’s amiss internally on the short side. Ditto trouble going down hills. Check out hindquarter symmetry from directly behind-might reveal longstanding weakness on one side. Uneven trot on one diagonal indicates weakness/problem on that side. Work rising on the weak side more if you are hunt-seat.
    I’ve used Adequan IM for 3 years on my DW mare & find that it has helped stifles. I’ve also had her get adipose stem-cell, PRP and arthriscopic surgery for OCD complications and she does pretty well now. I’ve ordered Pentosan IM & will substitute it for (unobtainable) Adequan as soon as it becomes available. Cosequin ASU seems to help too as does stretching her limbs forward and back (like in a flexion test.) Avoid steroids and NSAIDs-they hinder healing. Stifles are tough!

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    My mare has a locking stifle, my vet recommended trot work over poles, forcing her to pick up her feet and in turn build muscle, also trail riding particularly up hill. I put her on a Vitamin E/selenium supplement, as that is lacking in our hay in the area I am in, I have seen great improvement in the last few months. My trainer who also has a mare with a locking stifle was adamant NO Tight circles, it will make her lock up, turn out as much as possible, as long as the pasture is not super muddy and she is likely to slip which could stain an already week hind end.

    TWH Girl TWH Girl
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 31

    Agreed, stifles are tough. Tough to diagnose and treat. In the past few weeks my 11 yr old feels like the right hing slips or gives out, mostly in indoor arena only. Am using PentAussie and Cosequin asu. We are 3 shots into loading dose of PentAussie so will know more soon. If no change, next step is lameness eval. Legend has always worked great for him so i would try that too before moving to joint injections. With stifles, it can be the joint or the ligaments, and arthritis or N upward patellar fixation or stuck/locking stifle. All with different treatments too, not at all confusing!

    Leukrider Leukrider
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 5

    Have you seen positive results with red light therapy? It’s about the only thing I haven’t tried for my horse’s loose stifles. I’ve had great results using it on myself.

    Leuk's Partner

    Leukrider Leukrider
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 5

    I’m new to the forum, so ‘scuze the double posts…My Morgan/Friesian cross has what the vet describes as “mechanical issues”, aka he is built wonky with a wide pelvis, cow hocks, and a narrow base. His stifles are loose. He had marginally successful Medial Patellar Ligament Splitting procedure done last year; this has improved the locking, but not the “falling out” – where his stifles literally slip out of place momentarily. Anybody have this experience, and can share stories of improvement? Estrone injections made it worse, not much improvement with joint supplements, and I know that his weight and lack of fitness are issues. Groundwork with circles is when the slipping is most noticeable so we avoid those.

    Leuk's Partner

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