As a horse owner, the health of your horse should be your top priority. When something’s off, you can tell right away. That’s when your head will start to flood with all the different possibilities and diagnosis. Have you been noticing stiffness in your horse lately? Difficulty completing tasks that were once easy? While these are only a few symptoms, there are several causes, as well as treatments you can do if you suspect your horse has arthritis.
Causes for arthritis in horses can range anywhere from age, to wear and tear. While it can occur at any age, it is more commonly found in older horses. Inflammation caused by constant impact over time can lead to the erosion of some joint structures. Older horses tend to lose some of their elasticity in their tendons and ligaments just simply through the years. Aging also leads to increased cell death in fibrous tissues. This causes a thinning of the joint cartilage, thus leading to some discomfort and pain in your horse.
Effects of Arthritis On Your Horse
When a horse has arthritis, it reduces their natural shock absorbency, causing more strain on the joints when doing high impact activities such as jumping. Increased trauma like this will cause the joint to inflame and be painful. It can also cause deformation of the joint, misalignment, uneven joint surfaces, new pressure points within joints and even infections.
Signs Your Horse Might Have Arthritis
Arthritis can cause several changes in your horse. One thing to note is a change in your horse's movement, such as changes in their stride. Seeing as arthritis would cause pain during movement, they are likely to shorten their strides out of discomfort. Other notable changes include posture and raising of their head while riding. Tasks that were once easy to accomplish in the past can become suddenly difficult for horses inflicted with arthritis. They can experience a certain stiffness during your horses warming up. Also be sure to look for any swelling, warmth or pain around the joint.
Ways to Care For Your Horse with Arthritis
As far as exercises to keep your horse healthy, there are a few daily practices you’ll want to incorporate. The best thing is to keep your horse at a healthy weight. This will keep the unnecessary strain on any joints and muscles, making daily movements and exercises easier. Take the time to warm the horse up and stretch before exercising to prevent injury. This daily warm-up and exercise routine will prevent long periods of straining and stiffness. During the process, be sure to practice ranges of motion into their daily schedule to keep those areas loose and moving, as well as growing stronger.
An aspect to consider when caring for arthritis would be working from the inside out, so that would entail modifying their diet. You’ll want to feed your horse a diet that is high in Omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and low in Omega-6 fatty acids which can cause inflammation. To achieve a high Omega-3 diet, the horse should be fed options containing high fiber such as hay and grass. You’ll want to avoid grains and oils high in Omega-6. The ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 in your horse's diet should be anywhere between 3:1-5:1.
Another practice to incorporate into their diet is joint supplements. These will help protect any cartilage from damage. Look for supplements that contain effective levels of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. Glucosamine is used for certain components of the cartilage matrix. Chondroitin sulfate plays a role in controlling enzymes that are associated with inflammation and tissue destruction.
Another key ingredient to consider is hyaluronic acid, which helps support and nourish synovial fluid which coats and protects joint surfaces. Manganese is also important because it aids in the formation of the cartilage matrix and synthesis of connective tissue. Also be sure to include adequate natural vitamin E to support a strong immune system, healthy muscle, and nerve tissue. If your horse isn’t working too hard, the recommended dose is 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day. If they are involved in high work/impact activities, the recommended dose is 3,000 to 5,000 IU per day.
While there are several ways to care for your horse, the best supplement to ease any pain and see quick results is Comfort Quik! 20 Ingredients blended proven to help multiple horses, it is the only horse joint supplement you’ll need! You’ll get results in only 14-21 days. It helps with any stiffness, lameness, and aids advanced cartilage, bone, and joint problems. Click HERE to order yours today!