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Arthritis‹ Full Conditions List

Arthritis is often called degenerative joint disease (DJD) and is a condition that affects many horses and dogs. Arthritis is not only painful but makes mobility difficult. Primarily what we see in horses is osteoarthritis (OA). Osteoarthritis is characterised by the degeneration of the tissues of the joint as a whole, therefore involving the cartilage on the end of the bone and inflammation within the joint. The condition is normally characterised as a slowly developing chronic disease of the joint in which the joint surface (cartilage) wears down, resulting in pain and subsequent lameness.

Symptoms include: lameness, stiffness (that a horse can usually warm out of) and joint swelling (which can be present in one or more joints). Common joints to see arthritis in are the fetlock, carpus (knee) and tarsus (hock).

There is also a type of arthritis called septic arthritis. This is an acute form of DJD caused by a bacterial infection, which is extremely detrimental to horses and can be difficult to treat as it is hard to get antibiotics into the joint capsule. Septic arthritis is seen in foals that have compromised immune systems or systemic disease and also if there has been a traumatic injury near a joint. Arthritis cannot be treated but in many cases it can be managed. This condition is often an inevitable change as a horse grows older and often is the reason for a horse to be retired from riding.

Thermography can help to detect the early signs of arthritic changes and can also help to monitor changes over time. Many of our sponsored riders use our technology to monitor their performance horses to help identify changes and establish the correct time to medicate. Dogs also suffer from arthritic changes and many of our patients have regular screening to help with management of the condition.

We provide monitoring packages for horses & dogs.

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