الإثنين 27 مايو 2024

Osteoarthritis - Keeping Our Aging Horses Sound

موقع أيام نيوز

One of the most common conditions affecting soundness and performance lifespan of horses is osteoarthritis OA with some reports suggesting 60 percent of lameness issues in horses is attributable to OA1. OA is known across animal and human populations to cause stiff and creaky joint movement. It can make getting up in the morning difficult or slow you down the day after a long run.
OA is a slow progressive disease of the joint including damage to the articular cartilage the bone underneath the cartilage and local soft tissue structures including the joint capsule and supporting ligaments. OA does not affect all horses equally with genetics environment diet and type of stressstrain on the joint each playing a role in both the progression and severity of the joint disease. From acute injury to general wear and tear OA can offer in its severity and the speed of progression. With the cause varying from jointtojoint and horsetohorse complete understanding and therefore prevention of the disease has been limited. In addition every individual horse has a different pain tolerance some exercising through OA and others showing performancelimiting lameness. The difficult thing about OA compared to other diseases is that once the process has started it cannot be reversed meaning it cannot be cured and we are instead limited to management. The good news is that advances in veterinary diagnosis and management of joint disease have progressed significantly in recent years allowing us to identify OA earlier and better support our patients and clients to keep them doing what they love for longer while minimizing any associated discomfort. 



Being a common condition of aging horses OA may be the first thing one considers when dealing with lameness or performance issues. Even so the importance of an accurate diagnosis cannot be overstated. The critical first step in identifying and managing OA is clinical examination to identify the signs including heat swelling lameness excess joint fluid or decreased range of motion. Diagnosis may be aided by diagnostic nerve blocks or imaging such as xray ultrasound nuclear scintigraphy magnetic resonance imaging MRI and computed tomography CT to help localize the cause of the lameness and the severity of the joint disease. It is important to rule out other potential causes of lameness so that treatment can be directed towards the primary source of the issue and have the best effect. For example joint injections will not help