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 P et al (2012) Use of ethanol in the treatment of distal tarsal joint osteoarthritis: 24 cases. Equine Vet J 44 (4), 399-403 PubMed.
  • 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 J 42 (5), 381-387 PubMed.
  • 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 J 41 (2), 118-123 PubMed.
  • 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 Rec 161 (18), 611-616 PubMed.
  • Clegg P (2006) Conditions of the equine tarsal joints. UK Vet 11 (7), 6-12 VetMedResource.
  • Taylor S E et 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 J 38 (6), 502-507 PubMed.
  • Dechant J E et 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). JAVMA 223 (12), 1800-1805 PubMed.
  • Kidd J A, Fuller C & Barr A R S (2001) Osteoarthritis in the horse. Equine Vet Educ 13 (3), 160-168 VetMedResource.
  • Bjornsdottir S et al (2000) Radiographic and clinical survey of degenerative joint disease in the distal tarsal joints in Icelandic horses. Equine Vet J 32, 268-272 PubMed.
  • Platt D (1997) Review of current methods available for the treatment of bone spavin. Equine Vet Educ (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 J 72 (1), 25-28 PubMed.
  • Watrous B J, Hultgren B D & Wagner P C (1991) Osteochondrosis and juvenile spavin in equids. Am J Vet Res 52 (4), 607-612 PubMed.
  • 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 J 18 (1), 59-64 PubMed.
  • Hartung K, Munzer B & Keller H (1983) Radiologic evaluation of spavin in young trotters. Vet Radiol 24 (4), 153-155 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • Bohanon T C (1999) The Tarsus. In: Equine SurgeryEds J A Aver & J A Stick. W B Saunders Co, USA. 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.