Joint disease is a common manifestation of life, aging and often a result of many contributing factors including conformation, deformities and repetitive overuse. In the horse, joint pain is common not only with aging due to deterioration and arthritis, 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 the horse, this progresses one step further to include a joint injection, which is repeated quite often 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 to our equine companion? With further knowledge, we can understand better and consider different options. (more…)
Tag Archives: joint disease
How do free radicals and oxidative stress impact your horse or your dog? Free radicals are an important entity in chemistry and in horse health, having been researched for many years with connections to cellular changes that may impact overall health, soundness, and aging. A free radical is a molecule that has an unpaired electron in the outer shell, which creates instability and a high rate of reactivity with other molecules. Free radicals are produced as a normal part of cellular respiration or energy production, but can also be generated as a consequence of environmental factors, stress, poor diet, food additives, medications, and genetics. In general, through the process of oxidative stress, free radicals can have huge negative impacts on overall health, performance, and longevity in the horse and dog. The good news is that with understanding, we also realize that there are things we can do to minimize the damage inflicted. (more…)
Lameness and medical concerns in the sport horse have increased dramatically and likely are attributed to the increased use and performance level of these animals. To keep up with medical demands, we have seen an increase in our diagnostic capabilities and technologies as veterinarians. The concern that I have, as a clinician, is that the drive for these ever increasing technologies to aid in our diagnosis is rising, but it is not being counter driven by new therapies to manage the problems discovered. We raise our capabilities, hopefully to detect problems earlier, but yet our intervention techniques have not changed, giving the same results in the end for the patient. I think at times, we are missing the obvious when it comes to assisting these patients.
Joint disease in the horse is the number one cause of ongoing lameness and a result of many factors including excessive or ongoing trauma, genetics, diet and lifestyle influences. Degeneration within the joint leads to cartilage erosion, remodeling of the joint, ongoing pain and reduced range of motion in more severe cases. It is a condition that is best prevented and managed in the early stages versus in the advanced stages.
Therapies for joint disease in the horse now includes joint injections with corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, polysulfated glycosaminoglycans and over the past several years, there is a new kid on the block termed IRAP or Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein. IRAP therapy is supposed to help manage the inflammation and joint deterioration more effectively through the use of the body’s own natural resources.