Horse Health

Soundness Counts

December 30, 2010

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

From AQHA Corporate Partner Adequan

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 equine athlete.

The most important factor for soundness is the conformation of the horse. Starting with a structurally sound individual is critical.

“Nothing straightens a crooked leg,” says Dr. Fred Gardner of Countryside Veterinary Clinic in Garnett, Kansas, 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 rope halter is a valuable tool, but it needs to be used correctly. In AQHA’s FREE How to Tie a Rope Halter report, expert tack maker Dennis Moreland explains in simple terms how to tie a rope halter.

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

“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. 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 horses’ 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.

Roll It!

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“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 non-infectious degenerative joint disease 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.

Adequan is the only FDA-approved polysulfated glycosaminoglycan available for treating your horses’ joints. No oral or generic forms of Adequan are sold.

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.

Befuddled by rope halters? Don’t worry, there’s a solution! In AQHA’s FREE How to Tie a Rope Halter report, expert tack maker Dennis Moreland explains in simple terms how to tie a rope halter.

Adequan i.m. restores the natural cycle of “wear and repair” within the joint. It blocks the enzymes that damage joints and restores synovial lubrication within the joints. 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.

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.

To learn more about the causes, effects and treatments for degenerative joint disease, ask your veterinarian about the educational DVD available from Luitpold Animal Health. Or visit the Luitpold website.