Problems in the Horse’s Hip and Pelvis

Here’s a look at some common pelvis problems in horses, how veterinarians diagnose them, and what treatment options are available.

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horse pelvis problems
If your horse develops sudden hindlimb lameness or pain over the back, hip, or croup, he might have a pelvis problem that warrants an examination from your veterinarian. | Photo: The Horse Staff

When you think about equine lameness, you probably think first about the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the leg, and of course the hoof. But lameness can also stem from trouble higher up the skeleton, including the pelvic (or sacroiliac) region. While considered relatively uncommon, pelvis-based lameness might be more prevalent than previously thought. What’s more, a new strategy combining diagnostic tools with traditional treatment modalities shows promise in improved recovery from some pelvic problems. Here, we’ll give you an overview of problems in the horse’s pelvic region and what can be done about them.

How Common Is It?

In the past, “I believe this (has been) an under-diagnosed area, at least in sport horses,” says Thomas Daniel Jr., DVM, a practitioner at Southern Pines Equine Associates, in North Carolina. As practitioners have gotten access to better imaging and learned more about diagnostics, however, the prevalence of these problems has increased.

“Already at our practice, we’re finding quite a bit of sacroiliac ligament desmitis (ligament inflammation) and sacroiliac joint disease,” he said

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Written by:

Sushil Dulai Wenholz is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She’s written for a number of leading equine publications, and she has earned awards from the American Horse Publications and the Western Fairs Association.

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