Arthritis in Horses

Arthritis is common in horses, especially older horses. The severity depends on their activity levels throughout their life as well as diet and condition. A horses discomfort can be lessened by managing its condition with good nutrition and regular light excercise. A good natural joint supplement is essential to improve the quality of life in a horses retirement years.

Causes of Arthritis in Horses.

Arthritis is a condition caused by inflammation in the joints. It’s also referred to as equine osteoarthritis or joint disease. Bone joint intersections in a horses limbs are protected by smooth cartilage which gradually degenerates. This causes inflammation and chronic pain, especially during heavy activity such as jumping, fast turning and sudden stops. Cartilage can be damaged by injury and/or infection causing premature arthritis. Excessive repetitive stress to joints caused by certain sports is a precursor to arthritis later on.

Horses exert enormous pressures on stifles, knees, hocks, and fetlocks under training and competition. A horses leg joints are proof of the incredible strength of a horses skeletal system. But like anything, constant use results in wear and overusing these joints results in arthritic conditions later, sometimes prematurely.

What are the Signs of Arthritis?

Horses over 15 years of age are likely to show signs of arthritis no matter what their past activities. Obviously retired working and competition horses will be more susceptible and show signs earlier. Things you may notice are:

  • Stiff joints, reluctance to move freely,
  • An uneven or shorter gait, lameness,
  • Shifting weight on legs, changing posture more regularly than normal,
  • Laying down more than usual,
  • Pain when a joint is flexed,
  • With acute arthritis, swollen joints,
  • Obvious signs of discomfort when riding.

Detecting these signs early is important to manage arthritis and minimize the progression of joint degradation. Using a good joint supplement early minimizes inflammation reducing further damage.

How to Manage Arthritis in Horses.

Arthritis is not reversible and can’t be cured. Once the cartilage in a joint is worn or damaged it can’t be repaired. The condition must be managed for the remainder of the horses life by minimizing joint inflammation which causes pain, discomfort and loss of mobility.

Things you can do to reduce the effects of arthritis include:

  • Regular light excercise. Sudden bouts of activity after long periods of being stable bound could aggravate the condition,
  • Keep your horse in good condition – not overweight,
  • Add a good anti-inflammatory supplement to your horses’ diet – daily,
  • Keep your horse away from other horses who may cause injuries and sudden movements through fighting.

Hemp Oil is a Natural Joint Supplement.

Hemp oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and an excellent food supplement for joints. The Gamma-linolenic acids (GLA’s) found in hemp seeds are only found in only 4 other kinds of seeds. Hemp oil – in a similar way to fish oil – is a natural joint lubricant helping to keep joints supple and protected during movement. Regular oral intake of hemp oil can have remarkable effects on older horses with pain and restricted mobility, and improve their quality of life.

The outstanding nutritional properties of hemp oil have been known for thousands of years and are now being proven through research. Hemp is rich in Omegas 3, 6 and 9, and contains good amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Hemp meal products have good digestible fibre and a full amino acid profile.