Arthritis is a common and progressive degenerative joint disease (DJD) which makes mobility not only difficult but painful as well.
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 a slowly developing chronic disease of the joint in which the cartilage wears down, resulting in pain and subsequent lameness.
The causes are many and varied and can affect your horse at any age, however, when it comes to young horses it is usually trauma-related.
Symptoms can include: lameness, subtle changes in the way the horse moves, such as shortening of stride, hollowing of the back, or raising of the head. They could be reluctant to perform to their normal ability, have a change in personality, stiffness that goes away as your horse warms up 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).
Thermology detects the inflammatory processes that are produced when physiological changes start to occur in a joint. The technology can assist owners & veterinary surgeons in the identification of both early-stage and chronic joint disease. Degenerative changes are often the cause of lameness but structural imaging may not contribute to the investigation in the early stages.
As thermology is non-invasive, sedation free and offers affordable function testing it can assist vets with earlier diagnosis and expedite treatment. The service we provide can help to detect the early signs of arthritic changes and can also help to monitor changes over time.