202012 gestresst paard bn Osteoarthritis In Horses - What To Do?

Osteoarthritis In Horses – What To Do?

This guide will help you if your horse has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Where does osteoarthritis come from and how can you get it under control?

What is osteoarthritis in horses?

Osteoarthritis, whether in humans or animals, is wear and tear of the joints. The joints wear out due to advancing age as well as joint diseases and change pathologically. Joint diseases are, for example, bone fractures, sprains, inflammations (arthritis) or – in horses – congenital malpositions of the legs and hooves.

Osteoarthritis in horses can develop over a long period of time and permanently damages the joint. The joint cartilage, which covers the ends of the bones, is attacked. This causes the horse to experience pain. The bone reacts and tries to “reinforce” the joint – bone spikes form, and the joint can become increasingly stiff.

Regardless of the cause of joint wear, the processes in the joint are similar. The bone ends of the joint are covered with cartilage, and the joint is covered by a joint capsule. In the joint there is synovial fluid (synovia), which makes the joint mobile. In osteoarthritis in horses, the cartilage becomes soft, blistered and thin. Gradually, cartilage atrophy occurs. The bone responds with increased bone production, and the joint capsule also ossifies.

Osteoarthritis symptoms – How does osteoarthritis manifest itself in horses?

Characteristic of a horse suffering from joint wear is the initial stiffness when you start moving the animal. After about . 10 minutes, the horse has “broken in” and the pain becomes less. Often, however, the horses are not properly permeable, they avoid certain movements, such as tight turns.

Therapy measures for arthrosis

Osteoarthritis is not curable. But there are ways you can stop the joint wear or at least treat it in a pain-relieving way. We have listed the most common methods here:

Pain-relieving medications:
Often, pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory medications are used, such as cortisone. However, you should advise against medication as a long-term therapy.

People often underestimate the effects of targeted herbs. However, the use of certain herbs will help your horse relieve pain and stop inflammation.
Devil’s claw, ginger, yucca, rosehip silver willow achieve the best help. There are some herbal mixtures that can be fed specifically for osteoarthritis. (Arthro Plus by Stiefel)

The substances contained in the saliva of leeches have, among other things, an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect. For many a procedure that takes getting used to, but enormously helpful for inflammation.

According to the indications of classical homeopathy, the decisive factor for choosing the right remedy is which expressions best describe the complaints of the affected person. The more points of a manifestation apply to the affected person, the more certain the choice of the listed remedy becomes. A trained homeopath will be able to help you and find the right remedy for your horse.

Proper exercise:
A rolling stone gathers no moss! The most important thing for a horse with arthrosis is constant movement. First and foremost, this means the right posture. A horse with arthrosis does not belong in a box. At best, an open stable is sought in which your animal can move 24 hours a day, because constant movement promotes the continuous production of synovial fluid.

How do I prevent osteoarthritis in horses?

The fear that one’s own horse will eventually suffer from osteoarthritis is relatively high. Almost every older horse suffers from joint wear at an advanced age. To counteract this wear and tear, you should follow a few points:

Feed high-quality mineral feed
Give your horse vital nutrients from time to time.
Plenty of free exercise, keep stall times low
At least 15 minutes warm-up time, in winter much longer
Regular visit to the farrier
Avoid hard lying surfaces. Here, lying and paddock slabs are ideal. They are easy on the joints.


Unfortunately, it is not possible to cure arthrosis. But the diagnosis “arthrosis” does not necessarily mean that you can no longer ride your horse. On the contrary, exercise is still enormously important. Whether and how often you can ride your horse, a good veterinarian and not least your horse will tell you very clearly. Look for a stable where your animal can move around a lot, avoid stalls, follow our therapy measures, go for walks with your 4-legged friend, do ground work. All these tips will not cure the arthritis, but they can significantly reduce the pain and give your horse more joy of life again.

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