Arthritis care

We have a 15 year old barrel horse gelding. He has never been lame or sore when we ran him all summer long. About two months ago, his front right knee swelled up and it appeared that he had gotten kicked or ran into something. We had a cold spell about the same time.We have a 15 year old barrel horse gelding. He has never been lame or sore when we ran him all summer long. About two months ago, his front right knee swelled up and it appeared that he had gotten kicked or ran into something. We had a cold spell about the same time.

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MSUniv. of GA School of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Lowder:
We have a 15 year old barrel horse gelding. He has never been lame or sore when we ran him all summer long. About two months ago, his front right knee swelled up and it appeared that he had gotten kicked or ran into something. We had a cold spell about the same time. He has been x-rayed and the vet says that he has arthritis real bad. It just seems strange that he would come up with arthritis all of a sudden like that. Also the swelling is still there with some hot spots almost like he has an infection. I have received two thoughts of action. One, is to give him a shot of cortisone and the other is to apply a poultice. I’m leaning to the poultice to see what develops. What do you think and would supplements and what type be good to administer? He is a great horse. Thank you for your response.

Deanna

Deanna,

The arthritis most likely has been going on for awhile and you just did see it. The poultice will bring down the swelling but will not do anything for the joint itself. Depending upon the degree of arthritis, your vet can tell you best, you might consider some intra-articular therapy (steroids, HA, etc) in addition to a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

Good Luck,
Dr. Lowder