Bone Spur Prognosis

Our gelding’s broken hock has healed with what the veterinarian calls bone spurs. He believes the spurs could be rubbing against our gelding’s tendon, causing pain. What is the long-term prognosis for injuries such as these?

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Bone Spur Prognosis
Determining whether bone spurs in the hock are clinically significant can be tricky. | Photo: Kevin Thompson/The Horse

Q. We recently had our 4-year-old gelding X rayed due to months of periodic refusal to canter. What we learned was a shock: His hock had been broken and now has healed with what the veterinarian is calling bone spurs. He believes that the spurs are possibly rubbing against his tendon, causing pain. I have not seen the X ray yet, but the vet described it as being a clean break on the bottom bone of hock.

What is the long-term prognosis for injuries such as these? We have never heard of a horse’s hock being broken without indication of it. Should he be working? Or should we do whatever is comfortable to him, as we have no plans to show him? Should he be on any anti-inflammatory medications or supplements?–Tricia Arseneau, via e-mail

A. Those of you who have owned horses with arthritis might be familiar with the term bone spur. Or perhaps you had a prepurchase examination performed on a horse, only to discover that the horse had spurs in his hock joints

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Written by:

R. Reid Hanson, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, joined the surgical faculty at Auburn University in 1992, and is currently a Professor of Equine Surgery and Lameness. He is the author of over 180 scientific articles, abstracts, presentations, and book chapters related to equine surgery, lameness and critical care. Dr. Hanson is also an award-winning speaker, speaking to international audiences about these important topics. In his free time he enjoys competitive swimming and training. More information on Dr. Hanson can be found at

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