The key to helping a horse better manage with arthritis is being able to identify it early enough to get the inflammation under control to prevent further damage to the joints. The reality of this though is that in many cases by the time a horse goes lame, the arthritis has already done a substantial amount of damage. This is why it is essential to examine a horse even if it’s only showing signs of minor discomfort. There are many different ways to go about observing the symptoms of arthritis before the damage becomes too severe.
Some horses will demonstrate the early signs of arthritis in the way that they move. Usually the horse moves stiffly until they have been warmed up or may be short-strided. Other times, the horse might be disinclined to move only on one lead, in one direction, or in a particular gait. It is especially important to pay attention to these movements if they were once carried out effortlessly. Also, the horse may become increasingly defiant and resistant to a rider’s aid. A veterinarian may also be called upon to perform a hands-on assessment that pays attention to heat and swelling in the horse’s joints, along with a full lameness exam that includes flexion tests. X-rays and Arthroscopy are also utilized in more severe cases.
Even though arthritis is not presently curable, treatments can slow down or even stop inflammation from further occurring, improve pain and stiffness, and help aid in the regeneration of cartilage. The proper care for each