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Common Injuries in Horses

Common Injuries in Horses

by Geoffrey Partlow August 01, 2019

For thousands of years, humans have used horses for a vast array of purposes - agriculture, transportation, warfare, sport, recreation, and many others. From all of these roles, horses, of course undergo significant stress on their bodies. Care must be taken to ensure that these majestic creatures live long and healthy lives. This means that horse owners should be aware of some common injuries and conditions that horses may experience. 

Muscle Soreness

This is pretty explanatory, but it is worth understanding what exactly is muscle soreness. Simply put, it is a side effect horses experience after exercising or otherwise working its muscles. This can occur after an intensive training session. Sore muscles may cause pain in horses. They may also experience swelling and decreased range of motion in the areas of soreness.

Resting is important  for horses and allows the muscles to recovery. Muscle soreness, if left untreated, can lead to further complications. 

Joint inflammation

Horses can of course also experience joint inflammation.  Horses with joint inflammation may experience pain and swelling around the joints. As with muscles soreness, allowing a horse with joint inflammation to rest and recover is critical. Depending on the severity of the inflammation, a horse may need a week or more to recover. 

Often, horses will have recurring joint inflammation. This may be a sign of a more severe condition that warrants veterinary attention. This is especially the case if a horse’s inflammation is caused by a traumatic event, such as a sprain, fracture, ligament tear, or capsulitis. Any of these may lead to equine osteoarthritis. 

Bone Bruise

When a horse’s bone suffers a direct injury, it can become bruised just like a soft tissue bruise. The impact to the bone is hard enough to injure the bone, cause swelling, inflammation, or bleeding within the bone. Bone bruises are not as severe as a fracture of course, but that does not mean a horse will not have associated pain, swelling, and discomfort. The degree of pain or discomfort varies based on the severity of the injury and the specific bone that was injured. To make things more difficult, bone bruises are typically undetectable on an ordinary x-ray. To confirm the existence of a bone bruise, an MRI would be necessary. Treatment of bone bruises usually begins with a “prescription” of rest and recovery. Depending on the situation and the veterinarian’s opinion, anti-inflammatory drugs, steroidal injections, or pharmaceuticals may be necessary.




Geoffrey Partlow
Geoffrey Partlow

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