The right one depends on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause. The Hock joint is also where the Achilles tendon is attached, and this can add increased opportunity for injury or trauma.

The stifle is also an element of the stay apparatus, which allows horses to maintain a weight-bearing, for extended periods while relaxing the other hind limb. The good news is that, even if all you can do is manage the disorder, today’s treatment options present more opportunity than ever for horses to overcome stifle issues and continue performing. Developmental disorders include osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), subchondral bone cysts, and patellar luxation. It appears as a hitch in your horse’s gait—a hesitation between extension and flexion of the hind leg. We believe this is the best way to promote effective and speedy recovery – via the natural processes involving this set of enzymes.

Radiographic views are essential to identify some of these conditions. Or they can be really severe, and at that point, there is nothing you can do. While the early signs are subtle, almost anyone can learn to spot them and bring them to attention of their vet. To definitively indicate the stifle as the problem center, your veterinarian will want to perform a thorough lameness exam, feeling for thickened ligaments, swelling, bone spurs and other palpable clues on the stifle, and then do flexion tests, in which he holds the limb flexed for 60 to 90 seconds and then your horse is immediately trotted off. Prognosis is best for milder cases. They generally affect foals and young horses, which usually display very subtle clinical signs initially. How it’s treated: There is no cure for OA, so treatment focuses on managing inflammation and pain. The next step up would be intra-articular injection of anti-inflammatory medications, says Dr. MacDonald, who also notes that IRAP can be useful as an anti-inflammatory. In those cases, Dr. MacDonald speculates that the cysts may have existed since the horse’s younger years but didn’t present a problem until the horse’s protective articular cartilage eroded over time.

Poor stifle function is common in working horses and usually goes unnoticed by trainers, owners and vets alike. Early signs of hock issues can be very subtle and can creep up gradually. They do, however, appear in older horses. "Diagnosis is best made by arthroscopic examination of the joint. These are problems that may be present when the horse is born or may develop as the foal grows, and include osteochondrosis and subchondral (under the cartilage) bone cysts, which will be discussed later in this story. The stifle is not meant to lock up while the horse is walking or exercising. The stifle is a frequent source of lameness in English and Western performance horses, although it's not as common a cause as the hock. One of the classic signs of stifle lameness is a shortened anterior phase of the stride. The Horse’s experts answer your questions during a monthly live audio event. Their primary role is in Locking Stifle is most common in ponies, foals and horses that are unfit, although the precise cause is still unknown. The jumping horse might preferentially seek out one side of a jump, typically jumping away from the pain in a drifting fashion.

Noticeable heat or swelling in the leg at the joint.

Specific diseases and treatment modalities are as follows: Osteochondrosis, the most common category of stifle disorder, is characterized by an abnormal development of bone and cartilage in the stifle joint, says Martinelli. In such cases, "The OCD fragments never formed the characteristic flap, and this resulted in appropriate joint function," he says. “In the last 10 years, this has become a valuable tool for diagnosing stifle lameness. “That tightens the ligament down,” which helps keep the patella on track. WEAK STIFLE MUSCLES IN HORSES: PART 1: SIGNS, SYMPTOMS AND SOLUTIONS – BY ANN RAMSEY, BS, CERA, APF-I .

"The lesion occurs in older performance horses (usually large sport horse types) and appears to be traumatic in nature," states Martinelli.

Signs of a Locking Stifle. Older horses can suffer puncture wounds or wire cuts that penetrate the joint, opening the area to infection. 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. “It’s not the most forgiving joint,” and often the best you can do is treat symptoms rather than fix or cure the problem. Subtle cases will respond to anti-inflammatory drugs, changes in shoeing/trimming, and a progressive strengthening program for the quadriceps muscles. She's schooled in hunt seat, dressage, and Western pleasure. Any other number of clinical signs might be demonstrated, including poor performance. Stifle problems arise from chronic, repetitive trauma, or as a result of a pre-existing condition. Nuclear scintigraphy may be beneficial in some of these cases, especially those of collateral ligament injury.

"There are also two strong collateral ligaments supporting the joint on either side of the leg," she continues.

With normal hind limb movement, the femoropatellar joint moves in unison with the femorotibial joint.". Reduction in secondary sacro-iliac, thoraco-lumbar, quadriceps, sternohyoid and hamstring head pain and hypertonicity. Finding the exact cause of a stifle disorder can be challenging. Canter cadence might be altered when the affected leg is on the outside of the circle. Are Your Horses Ready for You to be Quarantined? “There are three joints in the stifle, so localizing the lameness is very important,” Dr. MacDonald says. They generally affect foals and young horses, which usually display very subtle clinical signs initially. The stifle also participates in the passive stay apparatus, which locks the joint to allow the horse to maintain a weight-bearing, straight hind limb for long periods of time while relaxing the other hind limb. Therefore, we feel very confident that this product is the best possible ‘all natural’ answer to providing help for your horse – especially in contrast to ‘more invasive’ answers. The more severe the case, the longer the period of hesitation. 53 These lesions produce lameness in the horse, and diagnostic arthroscopy may be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. According to Dr. MacDonald, options typically include the following (roughly in order from least to most invasive): • a conditioning or physical therapy program to strengthen the quadriceps, • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Treatment consists of addressing primary causes and reducing pain. Upward fixation of the patella is a common problem associated with a characteristic gait deficit in which the patella literally appears to get caught during the stride with the stifle and hock extended, MacDonald says. Management of stifle synovitis and arthritis is similar to therapies suggested for hock lameness–IA steroids, IA hyaluronic acid, systemic anti-inflammatory medications, systemic joint therapy, arthroscopy, shock wave therapy, and acupuncture. When this happens at the joint surface, you can end up with bone fragments there. Although comparable to the knee joint in humans, the equine stifle is angled when the horse stands still, whereas the human knee is upright. In OCD cases, abnormal cartilage is surgically cleaned out from the joint surface and any loose fragments of cartilage or bone are removed. Regarding the long-term prognosis for stifle disorders, “You can’t make a blanket statement [about outcome],” says Dr. MacDonald.

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