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Equine joint pain impacts performance, overall mobility and can really make a farrier’s job more difficult.
It is expected, on some level, as horses get older, but joint pain impacts almost every performance horse additionally. We seem to battle these conditions, altering approaches to footcare in combination with veterinary care, but no matter what we do, the problem seems to persist, becoming frustrating for the owner, farrier and veterinarian.
Joints are present throughout the equine body, but the most common joints involved regarding arthritis include the pastern, coffin, fetlock, carpus, tarsus (hock) and stifle. We cannot omit the lower back or lumbar region, or the cervical region, which are also commonly involved either as a primary or secondary problem.
A joint is the junction between two main bones, where the ends meet and glide across one another in the act of movement. The bone ends are covered with a special form of cartilage, called articular cartilage, which is a tissue protecting the bone and providing a cushion for movement. The junction of the two bones also is usually enclosed by a joint capsule, wrapping around the region, producing and retaining joint fluid to further lubricate the region, reduce friction and maintain tissue health.