Horse Health

Keeping Your Horse Sound

May 5, 2011

When soundness counts, concentrate on conformation,
correct shoeing and proven joint therapy.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Adequan

Twenty finalists at the Kentucky Reining Cup on April 29 had to jog their horses for a soundness test before competing. Journal photo.

As anyone involved in the performance horse business knows, keeping horses sound and competitive is an ongoing challenge. Trainers, veterinarians and horse owners all agree that performance relies on the sound legs of the horse athlete.

Whether a horse is a good athlete or not, the most important factor for soundness is his conformation. Starting with a structurally sound individual is critical.

According to Dr. Fred Gardner of Countryside Veterinary Clinic in Garnett, Kansas, “Nothing straightens a crooked leg.” He routinely advises clients to pass on horses that are not structurally correct. The wear and tear of the training regimen is toughest on horses with conformation issues, which may affect the way the horse travels.

The stress of movement due to poor conformation adds wear to joints, but poor shoeing also can make a horse sore.

Good horse conformation is important in numerous ways – from athletic ability to value as breeding stock. AQHA’s Form to Function – The Importance of Horse Conformation DVD explains how to spot an ideally conformed horse.

“A lot of lameness comes from poor shoeing or the horse doesn’t travel correctly to begin with,” Dr. Gardner says. “Soundness is easier for a structurally correct horse with feet that are in good shape. A farrier can make or break a horse,” he continues. “Good farriers keep feet balanced and horses traveling right, which in turn keeps joint issues to a minimum.”

But even with horses that are structurally sound and properly shod, joints still can become sore during the training regimen. That’s when Dr. Gardner studies the horse’s movement and administers Adequan according to the label for dysfunctional joints. The use of Adequan for treatment early is valuable in keeping horses sound and getting them to perform at the highest level of their capability.

“As you go into training with high amounts of stress on joints and get close to competition, we would implement therapeutic treatment regimens to treat even subtle changes,” Dr. Gardner says.

By the time the symptoms of noninfectious degenerative joint disease (DJD) appear in a horse’s joints, joint damage may have already begun. That’s why Dr. Gardner and other equine veterinarians recommend a treatment regimen that treats both the symptoms and causes of the disease.

Detecting and treating joint dysfunction before cartilage and/or bone damage occurs can prolong the working life of the performance or pleasure horse. Treating with tried and proven products produces consistent results. Using medications with FDA approval assures that a product is:

  • proven safe and effective in controlled studies
  • manufactured following FDA purity and potency guidelines.

Unlike corticosteroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which only ease the source of pain and decrease inflammation of the synovial membrane, or sodium hyaluronate, Adequan i.m. breaks the destructive disease cycle associated with osteoarthritis.

Adequan i.m. restores the natural cycle of “wear and repair” within the joint. It blocks the enzymes that damage joint and restores synovial lubrication within the joint. It protects cartilage structure, inhibits cartilage damage and stimulates the natural cartilage repair process. Adequan i.m. also decreases inflammation and relieves the pain associated with DJD.

AQHA’s Form to Function – The Importance of Horse Conformation DVD is suitable for beginners and advanced horse enthusiasts, and is ideal for people interested in buying or selling a horse. It’s also great material for horse judging groups. Plus, AQHA members get a 5% discount. Get your copy today!

The demands on show horses, particularly at the top performance level, require attention to details and a solid plan for maintaining soundness. Soundness programs like Dr. Gardner’s are built upon structural correctness of the horse, great farrier work and Adequan to stimulate cartilage repair and restore joint health in traumatized joints.

View a video about how Dr. Torri Maxwell, technical veterinarian for Luitpold Animal Health, likes to see farriers trim hooves. Or learn more about DJD at www.adequan.com.

There are no known contraindications to the use of intramuscular Adequan i.m. brand Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan in horses. Studies have not been conducted to establish safety in breeding horses. WARNING: Do not use in horses intended for human consumption. Not for use in humans. Keep this and all medications out of reach of children.

¡Feliz cumpleaños to Zips Chocolate Chip! That’s right – the #1 all-time leading sire of western pleasure point earners shares his birthday with the most festive holiday, and he has much to celebrate. Zip’s foals have won multiple open, amateur and youth world championships, racking-up an amazing 41,000 AQHA points in all-divisions combined! Zip’s 26 today, but that won’t stop this living legend from enjoying his chocolate margarita. Happy Birthday Zip!