Addressing Your Horse's Arthritis
Does your horse suffer with Arthritis?
If so you are not alone as many horses will experience some symptoms of arthritis with age. The trick is to manage your horse's work load and offer the right medications and supplements to reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
Arthritis symptoms are not uncommon in aged horses but can also display in younger horses due to injury, working conditions or even conformation. Horses can put an enormous amount of strain on their joints just by going through their daily routines, even when their daily routines are not especially strenuous. Arthritis is often a very painful condition that can have severe consequences for your horse in terms of their overall quality of life. Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to give your horse the best possible chances of enjoying a long and healthy life, even into old age.
Horses will develop the symptoms of arthritis at different rates and with different levels of intensity. Your horse may have reached a relatively advanced age, and he or she may still be able to enjoy a full range of motion with minimal joint pain. Other horses develop arthritic joints relatively early in life. Giving your horse a good regimen of shoeing and balanced trimming may help guard against arthritis. Even small changes to your horse's hooves can influence the amount of pressure your horse's joints will absorb over a long period of time. Some methods of arthritis prevention are easier to put into practice than others, but many of them have benefits that extend beyond arthritis prevention.
One of the main factors that determines whether or not your horse will develop severe arthritis is joint trauma. If your horse is under a high work load, keeping your horse's joints safe and free from any harmful physical impact can help prevent the development of premature arthritis. Of course, some age-related joint degradation will be unavoidable for your horse. While arthritis cannot be cured there are ways to assist with pain management and in some cases slow down further degradation.
If you suspect your horse is developing painful arthritic symptoms your veterinarian will be able to confirm a diagnosis and discuss the various treatment options available to you. There are many different supplements available on the market to help deal with arthritis and some of the existing arthritic symptoms. Glucosamine is a popular supplement for horses at risk for arthritis, since it helps with the cartilage production in horses' joints. Another one that may offer help is MSM, it has developed a reputation for being safe and effective in bringing relief from various inflammatory conditions. There are also many other herbal remedies that counteract inflammation that have shown to work well for the arthritic horse.
There's a temptation to restrict your arthritic horse's movements. While it may initially stand to reason that horses with stiff joints will avoid movement, keeping your horse stabled may aggravate the condition. Keeping your horse's arthritic symptoms at bay and stopping them from becoming more difficult to live with are still worthwhile goals, regardless of the severity of your horse's arthritis.
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