Equine Joint Discomfort Red Flags

A veterinarian describes some subtle signs to watch for that might point toward your horse having joint discomfort.

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horse with ears back looking out stall window
Behavior changes, such as increased grumpiness when stalled, might be a sign of joint discomfort. | iStock

Some signs of joint discomfort in horses are easy to spot, while others are more subtle. Paying attention to your horse’s behavior can help you catch potential problems. Erica Secor, DVM, Dipl. ACVS-LA, said to look for behavior changes both on the ground and under saddle. Horses with joint discomfort might be sore after being stalled for an extended amount of time and exhibit mood changes. If your horse isn’t performing as well as he used to or is suddenly walking off from the mounting block when he used to stand quietly, consider his joint health.

This podcast is an excerpt from our Ask The Horse Live Q&A, “Equine Joint Health.” Listen to the full recording here.

About the Expert:

Erica Secor

Dr. Erica SecorErica Secor, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS-LA, grew up riding and training horses in Vermont. She completed her undergraduate degree and veterinary school at Cornell University and completed her residency at the University of Illinois. After residency, she worked as a staff surgeon in private practice before returning to Cornell in 2021 for her PhD. She currently studies the immune system’s role in osteoarthritis and is working toward improving diagnostic capabilities and understanding how arthritis varies among individuals, with the goal of identifying how to better tailor osteoarthritis treatment to individual cases. Outside of research, Secor enjoys trail running (there is a lot of time to come up with research ideas during 60-mile trail runs), riding her 24-year-old Morgan horse, Mocha, and hiking with her favorite dog, Annie, and favorite husband, Andrew.


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