signs of stifle problems in horses

Common stifle conditions include osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) lesions; subchondral cysts in young, developing horses and in older horses with persistent bone microtrauma; upward fixation of the patella; meniscal damage; cruciate and anterior ligament damage; and chondromalacia (softening of the articular cartilage) due to chronic repetitive trauma. “This treatment has been very successful when combined with a quadriceps conditioning program.”. Stiffness, resistance to picking up a particular lead, pain or unwillingness to go up or down hills, swaying to one side when jumping, or in more severe cases bucking to evacuate the rider from their back due to pain are signs there may be an issue. It’s frequently tied to horses with poorly muscled quadriceps—the main muscles covering the stifle.

Magnetic resonant imaging, often used to detect problems in other joints, usually isn’t a practical solution for investigating the stifle, says Dr. MacDonald. Of the many potential stifle disorders, IUFP is one of the few where treatment may yield an actual cure, rather than just management of the symptoms.

Stifle problems arise … This happens when the patella slides too far over that bony knob at the end of the femur, the medial trochlear ridge, and gets caught. maintaining cellular health by removing toxic build-up. Exploratory arthroscopic surgery has become very important to the diagnosis of occult stifle lameness.". Monitor young horses. 53 These lesions produce lameness in the horse, and diagnostic arthroscopy may be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. The cysts can grow larger over time, and the related inflammation can eventually lead to osteoarthritis.

Effusion of the stifle joint(s) is sometimes present. "Affected horses don’t always have stifle swelling, but will improve significantly with intra-articular stifle anesthesia," he continues. The dysfunction occurs when the muscles that surround and support this sensitive system become weak. But because the horse often appears fine when first returned to work but then becomes sore again, your vet may recommend continuing down the diagnostic path to clarify the true underlying source of pain, Dr. MacDonald says. Of these, the first two are typically considered developmental disorders. A: Anatomy wasn’t my best subject in vet school, but I do remember that the equine stifle is the equivalent of the human knee, complete with patella or kneecap. Sticky or Locking Stifle in a Horse - Cause and Treatment 'Sticky Stifle' is a result of a slight problem with the locking mechanism which fixes the stifle joint and allows the horse to stand sleeping - as a result, the rest of the horse's hind leg is affected. The foal or young horse may display subtle symptoms, but trouble may not truly become apparent until the horse begins training. The first step in treating a sore stifle is identifying which part is involved in the disease process; the second step is identifying the disease. At a Glance | The Good Drink: Keeping Horses Hydrated, CANTER Michigan Off-Track Thoroughbreds Available for Adoption, American Association of Equine Practitioners, Breathing Easy: Managing Horses With Asthma. Injuries can manifest in the stifle such as strains, traumas, infections, developmental joint issues, upward fixation of the patella which all can lead to degenerative joint disease or also known as gonitis. This occurs when the entire pelvic limb becomes locked due to muscle weakness and joint instability. While the early signs are subtle, almost anyone can learn to spot them and bring them to attention of their vet. One Unique Disorder Ultimately, the exam might show any of a number of issues. Medications such as hyaluronic acid placed in the joint may ameliorate the conditions of the synovial environment and have beneficial effects on the joint, but do not yield the anti-inflammatory results that steroids do. With the help of David MacDonald, DVM, MVSc, DACVS, of Pioneer Equine Hospital in Oakdale, California, we’ll shed some light on the stifle’s anatomy, its function and common disorders to watch for in your horse. Dr. Tom Riddle Releases Book, Profits to Benefit Two Foundations, 10 Equine Dentistry Resources on TheHorse.com, What to Expect During Your Horse’s Dental Exam, Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners Symposium 2019, International Society for Equitation Science 2019, Podotrochlosis: ‘Navicular’ is No Longer the End of the Road for Horses, Core Vaccination: Protecting Horses From 5 Deadly Diseases. “It was a revelation,” says Dr. MacDonald. Early signs of osteoarthritis in the equine stifle are most commonly recognized as cartilage damage over the medial femoral condyle, which occurs secondary to joint injury or trauma. In a number of those horses, we’ll then use diagnostic arthroscopy,” in which a small arthroscope is inserted into small incisions in the stifle to view the joint. In moderate cases, the horse might continue to perform well. If the arthritis is substantial, response is limited.

Born and raised in Canada, he is a graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College-University of Guelph and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. She's schooled in hunt seat, dressage, and Western pleasure. When this happens at the joint surface, you can end up with bone fragments there. The hocks are a key part of your horse’s hind quarters driving mechanism. I would dearly love a $ for every horse that I have to assess due to stifle problems. When picking up a horse’s hind leg, the stifle joint bends forward, just as a person’s knee does when climbing stairs. Contenda competed at the top level in eventing…, Horse breeding from planning through foal care, Horse-health-problem risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, Design and maintain a healthy horse operation, Prevention and treatment for problems of the equine foot, How to care for the basic health needs of horses, Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of leg lameness, Proper feeding practices for foals, adult horses, and older horses, All aspects of caring for performance horses, News and issues for equine health professionals, Discussions about the welfare of our equine friends, Florida’s Fourth Human West Nile Virus Case Confirmed, West Nile Virus Identified in Illinois in Birds.

Prognosis is generally good.

It is also important in determining how the stifle pain is effecting the body such as hypertonicity and pain in the sacro-iliac, thoraco-lumbar, quadriceps, sternohyoid and hamstring heads. Locking of the stifle is a common condition that usually affects young horses. Developmental stifle diseases are congenital (present at birth) and might or might not be caused by genetic abnormalities. Developmental stifle diseases are congenital (present at birth) and might or might not be caused by genetic abnormalities.

The last falls into the category of acquired disorders—those caused by things like trauma, and general wear and tear. We’ve had success with that,” says Dr. MacDonald. They generally affect foals and young horses, which usually display very subtle clinical signs initially. As well as supporting and stabilizing the hind limbs the stifle functions as a major driver for hind limb locomotion, this is achieved through the patella being a point of attachment for the driving quadriceps femoris muscle. Prognosis depends on the severity of the disease.

• a combination of the two, an approach based on research at Colorado State University around six to eight years ago. Since this is a developmental disorder, the cysts are most common in horses age 3 and younger. Peroni cites one study where restricted activity for three to six months yielded success in about 50% of cases when OCD was detected early in weanlings. If you continue to use the site, we'll assume you're okay with this. “We can go in with arthroscopy, look at the joint and where the cyst is, and we can debride any cartilage damage over the lesion, and then inject the cyst in multiple places with visual guidance. Depending on the degree of the problem, rest and NSAIDs might work. For a sharp-eyed individual, it doesn’t take much to spot a stifle problem: The telltale swelling in the stifle area is a big hint.

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