Hock Injections (Arthritis & Bone Spur)

The hocks play a major role for the horses movement. They are the driving mechanism for their hind end. The Hock is the joint between the tarsal bones and tibia.


What happens to the hocks?

When the horses cartilage starts to thin in the middle join spaces, pain is evident as it is the actual bone grinding when moving. Therefore, horses will start to develop bone spurs along the edges which is the starting process of bone fusion. This affects not only the back legs, but also the the hips, croup and hindquarters.

To help relieve pain during the degeneration process, an injection is given to the lower and middle joint spaces until the process of fusion is complete.  Fusion is a good thing in this case as they don’t slide, and therefore they don’t hurt anymore.

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This happens to many athletic horses. The injection consists of corticosteroids, which  are anti-inflammatory agents that according to studies and performance, help with pain relief and inflammation. Some vets combine corticosteroid with hyaluronate (also known as hyalruonic acid, or HA) to help lubricate the joint. Tofino got his hock injected within the first few months of having him. His X-ray showed that he has arthritis between the joints and started to develop bone spurs (see pic below).


Causes:
  • Type of riding
  • Genetics (play a role in arthritic degeneration)
  • Diet
  • Movement, or lack there of (horses in stall, standing still will be a lot stiffer)
Solutions:
  • Joint Supplements: Adequan, Legend, Pentosan, glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM, NSAIDs are some of many suppliments that can aid in joint lubrication and pain.
  • Weight management & Exercise: If your horse is overweight it can put a load of pressure on the hocks. If not then just continue to work them normally, and keep the outside of their box as much as possible.
  • Therapy: To help relieve stiffness and pain.
  • Surgery: Only in extreme cases, surgical drilling of the hock joints or chemical fusion of the hocks may be an option.
  • Injections: Cortisone injections provide somewhat of a long term anti-inflammatory effect and pain relief. Depending on discipline and intensity, the injection may last somewhere between between 6 and 15 months.

Within the 5 years that I have had Tofino, I have only injected him 3 times so far. As soon as I start to notice when he’s in pain in that area, I give our vet a call. I found that the Turmeric treats help SO MUCH with the fluidity of his movements, and his diet, being on Reverdy Feed has given him the right nutrients, without adding supplements, to hold off on the injections, therefore, not needing them as much.

We are not sponsored by Reverdy Feed anymore, but I still stand by the product as I have noticed a great deal of positive change with Tofino’s performance and body.

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