Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Tarsus: osteoarthritis (bone spavin)

Synonym(s): Bone spavin

Contributor(s): Steve Adair, Vetstream Ltd, Chris Whitton


Print off the Owner factsheet on Osteoarthritis - the facts to give to your clients.


Predisposing factors

  • Horses ridden hard at gallop, jumping horses, Western horses (used for reining, roping and cutting).


  • Icelandic horses or 'toelter' horse.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Lamas L Pet al(2012)Use of ethanol in the treatment of distal tarsal joint osteoarthritis: 24 cases.Equine Vet J44(4), 399-403PubMed.
  • Gough M R, Thibaud D & Smith R K W (2010)Tiludronate infusion in the treatment of bone spavin: A double blind placebo-controlled trial.Equine Vet J42(5), 381-387PubMed.
  • Byam-Cook K L & Singer E R (2009)Is there a relationship between clinical presentation, diagnostic and radiographic findings and outcome in horses with osteoarthritis of the small tarsal joints?Equine Vet J41(2), 118-123PubMed.
  • Labens R, Mellor D J, & Voute L C (2007)Retrospective study of the effect of intra-articular treatment of osteoarthritis of the distal tarsal joints in 51 horses.Vet Rec161(18), 611-616PubMed.
  • Clegg P (2006)Conditions of the equine tarsal joints.UK Vet11(7), 6-12 VetMedResource.
  • Taylor S Eet al(2006)Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein and hyaluronan levels in synovial fluid from horses with osteoarthritis of the tarsometatarsal joint compared to a control population.Equine Vet J38(6), 502-507PubMed.
  • Dechant J Eet al(2003)Use of a three-drill-tract technique for arthrodesis of the distal tarsal joints in horses with distal tarsal osteoarthritis: 54 cases (1990-1999).JAVMA223(12), 1800-1805PubMed.
  • Kidd J A, Fuller C & Barr A R S (2001)Osteoarthritis in the horse.Equine Vet Educ13(3), 160-168 VetMedResource.
  • Bjornsdottir Set al(2000)Radiographic and clinical survey of degenerative joint disease in the distal tarsal joints in Icelandic horses.Equine Vet J32, 268-272PubMed.
  • Platt D (1997)Review of current methods available for the treatment of bone spavin.Equine Vet Educ9(5), 258-264 VetMedResource.
  • Sammut E B & Kannegieter N J (1995)Use of sodium monoiodoacetate to fuse the distal hock joints in horses.Aust Vet J72(1), 25-28PubMed.
  • Watrous B J, Hultgren B D & Wagner P C (1991)Osteochondrosis and juvenile spavin in equids.Am J Vet Res52(4), 607-612PubMed.
  • Wyn-Jones G & May S A (1986)Surgical arthrodesis for the treatment of osteoarthrosis of the proximal intertarsal, distal intertarsal and tarsometatarsal joints in 30 horses - a comparison of four different techniques.Equine Vet J18(1), 59-64PubMed.
  • Hartung K, Munzer B & Keller H (1983)Radiologic evaluation of spavin in young trotters.Vet Radiol24(4), 153-155 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • Bohanon T C (1999)The Tarsus.In:Equine SurgeryEds J A Aver & J A Stick. Philadelphia: W B Saunders Co. pp 865-860.
  • Moyer W, Brokken T D & Raker C W (1983)Bone spavin in Thoroughbred racehorses.In:Proceedings of the AAEP. pp 81-87.