Horses, like people, often become stiff and sore as they age.
This is usually due to arthritis in the joints of their legs. It is the most common reason for a horse to be retired to the paddock.
The age that the arthritis develops is often dependent on the amount of exercise that the horse has done over its lifetime. A racehorse that has had many starts as a young horse is more likely to develop arthritis earlier than a horse that has always been used for pleasure riding. Conversely a horse that has little or no exercise is also prone to developing arthritis as the joints are underused and stiffen up.
There are many treatments on the market to both help prevent and also treat existing arthritis in the horse. Preventative measures concentrate on providing the essential building blocks for the healthy joint. Treating existing arthritis focuses on providing these building blocks to help improve the joint health as well as removing pain and inflammation.
Platinum Performance is a comprehensive nutritional supliment suitable for all horses. This product addresses equine health at the cellular level, providing a special blend of more than 55 nutrients that improves the fundamental health of the horse’s 12 trillion cells including targeting the cells of the joint. Unlike many suppliments on the market there is good evidence and trial work supporting the use of Platinum Performance.
Pentosan polysulfate is a drug that acts on the arthritic joint by improving the balance between good and bad components in the arthritic joint. In a horse showing signs of arthritis there is strong scientific evidence that it improves factors within the joint, as well as decreasing lameness of arthritic horses. We have had good success in improving the comfort of arthritic horses with this product, with many being able to come out of retirement after treatment. It is also widely used to help prevent arthritis in horses performing at a high level.
If your horse has a particular joint that is arthritic it is also possible to inject anti-inflammatories and other healthy joint components directly into the affected joint. This provides strong pain relief and improves the joint health of the injected joint. We also have the option to use the horses own anti-inflammatory mediators and enzyme to treat degenerative joint disease. This is called IRAP and involves extracting these enzymes from the blood and injecting them back into the joint.
If you would like to discuss options to try and improve the comfort levels and soundness of your horse please contact the Equine Team at the Rangiora Veterinary Centre.