Arthritis is a common and progressive degenerative joint disease (DJD) which makes mobility overtime 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.
In performance horses we often think of OA affecting the joints of the limb; the hocks, knees, stifles, and fetlocks. Signs include heat, swelling due to excess fluid within the joint, lameness, stiffness, bony changes, and crepitus; the cracking and grinding sound of the affected joint. The condition is one of the most common cause of lameness in sport horses.
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. Many horses are reluctant to perform to their normal ability or level.
IR Imaging 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 IR Imaging is non-invasive, sedation free and offers affordable function testing it can assist vets with earlier diagnosis and expedite treatment.