Arthritis refers to the inflammation in the joint, there are many different types of arthritis ranging in severity. Although arthritis is more prevalent in older horses, horses of any age can still be affected especially those that have been competing at a high level from a young age. The effects of arthritis are irreversible, but research has shown that supplements can be used as a preventative measure.
One of the most talked-about types of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is a chronic and progressive deterioration of the horse’s joint cartilage (the protection of bones inside the horse’s joints). Young, growing horses (under 1 year of age) can suffer from a form of arthritis where the immature joint cartilage separates from the bone allowing fluid to enter the space. This can also cause cysts to form under the cartilage. This can be caused by rapid growth and disproportionate levels of copper and zinc in the diet.
- Heat and swelling of joints. This is caused by swelling from the excess joint fluid.
- Stiffness or reduced mobility of a joint.
- A popping, grinding, crackling sound coming from a joint.
- Visible bulging of the joint capsule.
- If you suspect your horse suffer from arthritis contact your vet.
- Incorporate joint support into your horse’s feed - proven ingredients to help arthritis include Glucosamine, Hyaluronic acid, Rosehip extract, Yucca, Manganese chelate, Turmeric, and Oils containing the omega fatty acids EPA and DHA.
- Spend longer warming up - horses with arthritis require more time for their joints to warm up and loosen up. Spending 10 minutes in walk can be extremely beneficial as it allows the horse to loosen.
- To help prevent arthritis it is especially important to feed extra joint and bone support to growing horses and horses regularly competing or performing strenuous exercises. This can help prevent daily wear and tear of the horse’s joints thus helping prevent arthritis.