What is the best joint supplement for my dog? That is a very common question that I would entertain from my veterinary clients over the years. When it comes to a joint supplement, you need to look at the purpose or goals for the product and the ingredients. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are very common …
Inflammation is one of the biggest contributors to overall poor health and lameness, including joint and tendon related problems. Prevention is one of the keys to controlling problems down the road in the performance horse. If we can control the issues and the process, we can maximize gains hopefully with little issues in the near future. Ideally, our goal is to balance inflammation and provide nutrients to benefit the entire body.
Navicular syndrome is a very common problem in the equine industry, likely impacting 30% or more of horses, dependent on the breed and discipline. We see this condition commonly in the western disciplines but also to varying degrees in other sports, including jumping, dressage and even racing. There are many factors that contribute to the problem, which can make it difficult at times to manage. All too often, though, we tend to wait until the condition has progressed, with irreversible damage, before we properly intervene. With a better understanding, hopefully we can recognize the condition sooner, see contributing factors and produce better results for the patient in the long term.
Our canine companions are not immune to joint concerns, but like us, they often live with day to day discomfort and pain. They want to go, jump, play, but are limited in what they can do. The hips and even back are main sources of problems, creating moderate pain, limited range of motion and creating a modest dependence on pharmaceutical medications just to keep them moving. Their problems are very similar to ours, as humans. We have choices and options which may provide a higher level of quality of life. All we have to do is understand the process and see the possibilities.
Joint disease is a common manifestation of life, aging and often a result of many contributing factors including conformation, deformities and repetitive overuse. In horses, joint pain is common not only with aging due to deterioration, but is also present in the younger group secondary to high levels of stress to the areas associated with training and competition. In all groups, we have an often daily dependence on pain medications, but in horses, this progresses one step further to include repetitive joint injections to help keep the athlete competing. In many respects, we have come to accept these therapies as the only means of management, but are they really helping and is there more that can be done? Is it also possible that some of these therapies, despite good intentions, may be creating more harm in the end? With further knowledge, we can understand better and consider different options.
Spring is upon us and with the increase in pollen and other allergens, those horses with prior respiratory allergies can flare, creating a life of misery for them and their owners. Respiratory conditions impact a large percentage of horses, contributing to health problems ranging from poor performance to complete debilitation. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is one of the most common respiratory conditions affecting the horse, which can be frustrating to manage. Just like other health conditions, the more we know and the earlier we intervene, often the prognosis is improved and management made easier.
Headshaking in the horse is a common problem and often affecting up to 30% of patients to variable levels, creating high frustration for the horse owner. The exact cause of this condition can be variable from patient to patient and thus treatment and results can be variable. Headshaking can vary in regards to presentation from simple flaring of the nostrils, flipping of the nose, rubbing the nose, snorting often, sneezing and even variable degrees of overt head shaking. Given the wide range of presentation,potential causes, lack of consistent treatment response and frustration factor for the horse owner, headshaking deserves some investigation for better management options. As is my character, let’s dig into what we know regarding headshaking and see if we can not only make sense of it, but also discover potentials for therapy.
Vision in the horse is a critical factor. Without it, they are vulnerable to attack in the wild, have a hard time navigating and encounter difficulties in training and competition. The eye in the horse also tells us a lot in regards to personality and demeanor, often allowing us to see into the spirit of the animal. It is large and obvious, often one of the first things we notice about a horse. Considering the placement of each eye in the horse, as compared to humans or even pets, their range of vision is limited and they are dependent on two functional and healthy eyes. When the health of the eye is impacted, the health and safety of the horse is likewise compromised. The equine eye is subject to a variety of conditions including corneal scratches and lacerations, but one of the most debiliating is equine recurrent uveitis or ERU, which is becoming more common place in the equine industry. What used to be a condition primarily impacting Paint breeds, Appaloosa and even fair skinned Quarter Horses, is now affecting many other breeds. The exact cause is unknown and despite the best efforts with therapy, these cases can be frustrating and financially draining for the horse owner. Our horses are our companions and given this, it is hard to see them in constant discomfort. Often, we need to step back and analyze these situations and apply what we have learned from research, to improve comfort and aid in management.
Almost 7 out of 10 people have at least one dog in their family. They can be of the working class, assisting with hunting or even protection, or in most cases, they are perceived as members of the family. It is interesting to see the status of the family dog change over the past two decades, which is a good thing, as they have moved up in ranks to more of a social companion for many, following us around with our every task and move. As we see the changing status and increasing level of meaning in our lives, it becomes even more important to provide for their health in the best ways possible. Just like us, dogs have joints that will gradually deteriorate secondary to osteoarthritis, which can create much discomfort for them and us. They often suffer in silence, trying to please us, but it is needless as there are options available to assist in maintaining not only their comfort, but their overall health.
Easy keepers. Most horse owners know what this term means almost instantaneously when they hear it. In general terms, it refers to a horse that has a tendency to carry more weight and gain weight easily, often with just the sight of a green pasture. Almost any horse can be an easy keeper, but there are certain breeds that are more prone including Quarter Horses, Pony breeds, draft breeds and even some warmbloods. Many of these easy keepers progress to metabolic syndrome and even insulin resistance over time, each a stage of continued deterioration at a cellular level. In many situations, these same horses tend to have concurrent lameness issues ranging from joint degeneration to tendon issues and laminitis, but also many also seemed more prone to allergies, respiratory problems and even eye issues. What is the connection and why do many standard therapies fail to provide relief for this particular group of horses?