equine osteoarthritis

Whether your horse jumps or spins, does piaffes or a running walk, climbs mountains or pulls a cart, or works on the weekends or not at all, his joints keep him moving. But osteoarthritis (OA) is a common problem equine athletes face, has no real cure, and can stop a horse dead in his tracks.

Fortunately, there are ways you and your veterinarian can manage arthritic horses to keep them active into old age. We’ve scoured our archives and collected resources available for free on TheHorse.com that you can use to help keep your horse’s joints flexing freely.

For more resources, search “osteoarthritis” or “arthritis,” or view the arthritis and degenerative joint disease topic on TheHorse.com.

ARTICLE: Promoting Lifelong Equine Joint Health Horse owners are painfully aware that the predominant factor limiting a horse’s athletic longevity is musculoskeletal injury–particularly joint problems. A common assumption is that these injuries result from wear-and-tear and age. Consequently, owners further assume there’s not much to be done about it. But think again: Using sensible strategies we can promote healthy equine joints capable of withstanding athletic demands. Read More

INFOGRAPHIC: Equine Joint Structure and Function Learn about how horse joints work and how you can keep your horse’s joints healthy with this step-by-step visual guide. View Now

ARTICLE: Joint Supplements and Equine Osteoarthritis Even the best and most successful equine athletes can face aches and pains associated with OA from time to time. Drug and medication rules prevent trainers and veterinarians from administering certain prescriptions within a certain time frame of an event, in part to keep the horse from competing while injured, but what about joint supplements? Could they help horses stay healthy, comfortable, and even prevent joint disease from developing in the first place? Maybe, one researcher says. Read More

ARTICLE: Corticosteroid Joint Injections for Horses With Arthritis: Friend or Foe? One veterinarian says that, while we can’t lump all corticosteroids into one category, injections should still be considered a mainstay of treatment of intra-articular inflammation. Here’s why. Read More

ARTICLE: How Healthy Horse Hooves Help Arthritic Joints Arthritis is all too common in active and aging horses. In an effort to slow the progressive deterioration of joint tissue, owners and veterinarians often reach for anti-inflammatory medications and/or regenerative therapies. After all, our goal is to keep these joints comfortable. One often-overlooked strategy in this effort is hoof care. Certain trimming and shoeing techniques can alter a horse’s limb biomechanics—for better or worse. Read More


ARTICLE: Economic Impact of Equine Osteoarthritis and Joint Health Supplements Equine OA is expensive to manage, with estimated annual costs as high as $10,000-15,000 per horse to diagnose, treat, and medicate, researchers found in one study. Read More

ARTICLE: Managing Equine Arthritis on a Budget Because there is not likely to be a cure for OA anytime soon, and therapies for affected horses might be expensive and required for many years, owners and veterinarians must extract as much information from routine tests as possible, and owners need to communicate their expectations and budget constraints with their veterinarian beforehand, one practitioner says. Read More

ARTICLE: Managing the ‘Creaky’ Performance Horse Older, experienced performance horses are worth their weight in gold. They’ve been there, done that and have amassed skills that literally take ages to learn. But, years of training and many miles in the show ring mean these horses need a little extra TLC to continue performing well into middle age. Read More

VIDEO: Knowing When to Retire an Arthritic Horse Sometimes all the treatment in the world can’t help a horse with joint disease return to full performance. Here’s how to tell if it’s time to retire your arthritic horse. Watch Now

SPONSORED CONTENT: Flexadin With UC-II for Equine Joint Support Flexadin with UC-II provides a novel approach to joint support. In order to understand how, reviewing anatomy and physiology is essential. Read More