Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Osteoarthritis - the facts Owner Factsheet

Osteoarthritis is a common cause of lameness in horses. It is a progressive degenerative condition and there is no cure, however it can often be managed. Osteoarthritis (also known as 'arthritis' and 'degenerative joint disease') is a degenerative condition of joints resulting in cartilage erosion and inflammation. Articular cartilage has very limited ability to repair so the condition is irreversible. Any joint injury or insult can result in osteoarthritis. Most cases are due to wear and tear. Horses are large animals and put huge forces on their joints. Injuries to ligaments or bone (chip fractures) and inflammation resulting from infection are also causes.

Image: Stifle: osteoarthritis
©Prof Derek Knottenbelt

How do I recognise osteoarthritis?

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What should I do if my horse has these symptoms?

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What will my vet do?

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I have heard that intra-articular cortisone therapy damages the cartilage - is this true?

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What can I do to prevent my horse developing osteoarthritis?

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