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saudimack

Hock Injections

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What is your opinion on getting a horses hocks injected? I've had the flexion tests done and he was sore on one hock (he is a calf horse and 13yo so its not too surprising). We had it xrayed because there is additional built up fluid there, but everything checked out just fine, just minor arthritis. My vet recommended at the time to do injections.... that was almost a year ago.

I just had shoes put on my horse yesterday and my farrier thinks hock injections would benefit my horse as well as he seemed a bit sore.

But we are talking about stickin a frickin needle into a joint here! Infection or an adverse reaction? That would so be my luck!

But I really want to make my horse as comfortable as possible... so I am really torn here.

Opinions?

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My horse gets his hocks done. He only needs it usually about once a year. Never had any issues with infection or any other bad affect at all. Horse is sedated. The vet tech (or vet) thoroughly cleans, then cleans, then cleans, then cleans some more. Then he or she rinses... then cleans, then cleans, then rinses. Then when the horse is drowsy, some vets will twitch no matter what (helps to makes sure the horse stays perfectly still so less chance of him moving as the vet goes to put the needle in) or some vets will only twitch if necessary, then they put the needle in. Feeling to make sure the have the needle in the right place, they usual inject the first half of their syringe, then reposition to a different area of the hock and inject the rest of the syringe. Some vets wrap, most around here don't. My horse always feels a lot better and freer afterwards. I would not be hesitant to do it for any horse we felt needed it (I have done them on my first horse to but I was very young and don't remember much. I also know we injected SOMETHING on my 2nd horse, but not sure what).

My current older horse also gets his coffins done about once a year.

Horse gets 3-4 days off with regular turnout, then a light day of riding (20 mins walk trot) then a light but close to regular week (so low jumps and not really hard works) then back to normal after that.

Edited by MysticRealm

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I have had several horses hocks injected and have also had a stifle joint injected. Make very sure you have a Vet do it that specialized in hind limb lameness like a cutting or reining Vet. I am absolutely against using steroids injections in a joint but think Hyaluronic Acid is a far better product. HA actually lubricates a joint while steroids and anti-inflamatories just dry it out and further cause arthritic changes in the long run.

I would question if you need to go right from doing nothing to injections. I would opt for Adequan or Legend injections first. After a couple of months on either of them, I would re-evaluate his soreness and performance. On the other hand, the hock injections are cheaper if they only have to be done once or twice a year.

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Hock injections are very common, my horse has them as well. Make sure your vet is consciencious and you should have few, if any problems. I would inject AND put on a supplement like Cosequin.

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My horse had his injected last spring. Very reputable vet clinic, it was highly recommended by the vet to have this done. He is actually getting the steriods, I think its corta-steroide wish I could remember exactly the name but he got this type as his fusion has already begun. Also there was antibiotic in the shot for "just in case". I was extremely nervous but the environment was very sterile and the injections really helped him to be more comfortable. He may have to have another round in about a month, I definately plan to do it. I had another horse years ago done on the farm, I was nervous about that as I felt it wasnt nearly as sterile but she did just fine with it. I think with anything like this, human or animal there will always be risks.

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Well I just made an appt with my vet. We talked on the phone for about 10-15mins and reviewed Shortys xrays and notes and he said Shorty would be a good candidate for hock injections. We are going to discuss either going with a steroid (since Im only going to be doing it once a year) or Legend.

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Steroids can do a number of things depending on what type is used. They all halt the acute inflammation by stopping the production of inflammatory proteins higher up in the production pathway then say an NSAID like your ibuprofen. These inflammatory proteins affect the joint producing swelling and pain. These proteins are being released due to the irregularity of the joint during movement causing damage. by putting steroids in the joint you are delivering them right to the location they are needed so you avoid some of the potential systemic side effects.

Risks of putting them in the joint are that they do cause an immunosupressive reaction as your immune system relies on those inflammatory proteins to know when to function. Most injection are carefully scrubbed but not the hair not clipped and then injected aseptically by the vet in the same manor one would perform surgery. The risk of infection is there, but is very uncommon. Most vets inject into the joint with the steroid a small dose of an antibiotic just to be safe. Just as an example in vet school we injected joints on our teaching horses just using saline and a small amount of antibiotic. Each horse had each joint injected twice. Out of 15 horses not a single one got an infection.

Now there are different kinds of steroids. Some are longer acting then others. Some are used with the goal in mind of INCREASING the bone production around the affected joint. This is done in order to fuse the joint and thereby stop the motion that is producing the pain and inflammation. These are what are used in the low motion joints such as lower hock and knee joints. You don't use these steroids in your high motion joints such as proximal hock joint, stifles, hips, etc as fusing these joints would give leave the horse unable to bend its legs properly resulting in what is called a mechanical lameness (versus a pain lameness).You use a different steroid in these joints.

I am assuming your vet will be injecting the lower hock joints as those are the most common joints needing treatment. While HA is present in the joint and is involved in lubrication and movement, there is some evidence, but not alot, that direct intra articular injections are actually beneficial from a lameness perspective. its the movement of the joint that is causing the arthritis and pain in the first place. Stop the movement, stop the inflammation, stop the pain and the only way to acheive this is to fuse the joint.

I like steroids and an antimicrobial. I will only use HA when a client specifically asks for it or when dealing with a high motion joint.

As for "once a year", most horses will give you a year on one injection, but some won't. Once you start you are kind of stuck doing it as the horse requires it. I have seen a couple horses go a couple years between injections. Just watch Shorty, he'll let you know when he's sore again.

Just what I was taught, hope everything goes okay for you! Ask what he is using, It would be interesting to see what they do differently.

Shoot me a msg if you have any questions.

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I'm generally against joint injections because they seem to be a temporary fix, and it seems like they have to be used more and more often to get the same result. With that being said, I think if everything else has been done as far as limiting strenuous work, using supplements, and legend or adequan injections, and the horse is still in pain then you may have to inject for quality of life. To me the longevity of a horse is more important that using them really hard until they can't any more.

When Citrus was diagnosed with Navicular Bursitis and Grade I Laminitis, my vet and I talked about the choices I had to make. First, we wanted to see if he would be sound again. We got a ton of weight off him and iced his feet for a little over a month. Then we pursued corrective shoeing. I stopped jumping him and started working him pretty lightly while he was recovering. These steps got him about 90% better. After about 9 months, he was lame only when turning circles when riding. My vet suggested injecting him to see if that would get him the rest of the way better. I decided that we would do it once, but that if he needed it again we wouldn't continue injecting him. His x-rays show no bone changes, so we were trying to get the rest of the inflammation out. We did the injections in August of 2007 and haven't had to do them again.

I think the biggest thing is limiting their work load to decrease the wear and tear, so that they can be comfortable and work at least some until they're old. But that's a personal preference thing, some people would rather work them at the max of their ability and then retire them as a teenager because they can't work at all anymore.

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Oh he is in by no means in pain, but you have to realize he is a calf horse so he is sliding on those hocks a lot, so there is going to be more wear and tear there on him then there would be a horse just doing flat work. I'm not using this as a preventative measure either per say, because I know there is SOME uncomfortability just because he tested positive on a flexsion test.

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If he's not in pain then that's good. Have you tried oral supplements or injections other than into the joint?

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Nope I havent. I've only owned him for less than a year now and still trying to figure everything out with him.

Well he got injected today, so I am giving him a week off and going to bute him for 2 days. I hope there is a difference with him. He worked well yesterday roping (after I got on his case from being a dink!). He was stopping hard and straight, but hopefully these injections make that more comfortable for him. My vet is awesome too, he took off $200 from the bill :shocked: He also did a free lameness and just overall exam because he was wondering how Shorty was doing since Ive bought him (I also used this vet for a PPE). He is a great guy!

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Id be much more inclined to give an oral supplement to a 13 yo horse before injecting him and see where that put him. They take effect quickly and youd notice results in a week or two max. with the high powered ones. There are some fabulous oral joint supps out there now. Much less invasive and lends towards future joint health in the long run. I also like the HA supps that combine with the other good ingrediants like glucosimine msm and all that. Im using Corta-flx HA on my 16yo TB and it works GREAT. Very cheap too around 120 bucks for 100 days or something like that.

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