Carpitis is inflammation of the soft connective tissues on the surface of the bones of the carpus of a horse. The horse carpus is the equivalent of the human knee joint. This inflammation can involve the fibrous joint capsule, synovial membrane, and associated ligaments and bones of the carpus.
Tick paralysis results when a tick’s saliva delivers a paralytic toxin into the bloodstream of its host. Equine tick paralysis is rare, as horses seem to be resistant to most tick toxins.
Lameness is an abnormal gait caused by a dysfunction of the muscles, joints, or bones. Lameness is extremely common in horses, and is the most common cause of “loss of use” in performance horses
Joint swelling is a common symptom in horses and has a variety of causes.
“Ringbone” refers to ring-shaped bony protrusions formed due to osteoarthritis in either the pastern joint or coffin joint in horses.
Bone spavin in horses is painful, progressive, irreversible osteoarthritis of the lower hock joints.
Limited mobility (LM) in horses is defined as a reduction in agility and/or movement, and is a condition that mainly affects senior and geriatric horses (over 18 years of age).
Lack of coordination, or ataxia, results from damage to the brain or spinal cord causing erratic and unstable movements.
Exercise intolerance is the decreased ability to tolerate strenuous exercise. Exercise intolerance is one of the first signs of exhaustion
Fetlock arthritis (aka “osselets”) in horses is inflammation of the fetlock joint and surrounding tissues. This condition is common in performance and racehorses.
Joint infections are infections found in the joints of horses which cause pain, inflammation, fever, and lameness. Joint infections are always an emergency and require immediate medical assistance.
Laminitis refers to inflammation of the lamellae, the support structure that holds the coffin bone in place within the hoof capsule. The lamellae are extremely sensitive, making laminitis a very painful condition.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease resulting in damage to the joint cartilage and underlying bone. Arthritic damage causes significant pain, and typically results in lameness, limited mobility, joint swelling, and poor performance.
Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) occurs when insulin levels are consistently high, leading to dysfunction of the systems that regulate body fat and blood sugar. EMS is caused by a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors, such as high-sugar diets and obesity, although it is unclear why some horses develop this condition and others do not.
Spinal disorders are a group of conditions that affect the bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and other structures of the back in horses. Spinal disorders are most common in horses involved in heavy sport and competition.
Muscle twitching and cramping, also referred to as “tying up”, are symptoms that appear from painful and continuous muscular contractions. During a severe episode, horses might refuse to move and suffer from extreme pain.
Swollen legs, sometimes referred to as “stocking up,” are a noticeable increase in the size of the legs, giving affected horses the appearance of a “fat leg”. If leg swelling is accompanied with pain, heat, or lameness, it requires emergency veterinary attention.
Recumbency describes a horse who is lying down, unable to rise. Recumbent horses are typically laying flat on their side, but some may be able to sit up on their chest. Recumbency may be caused by a wide variety of conditions, including injuries, degenerative diseases, inflammatory diseases, tumors, infectious diseases, toxicosis, and neurological conditions.