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Hock Injections-Do they work?

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My horse Rusty is having some hock problems...He is only 8 and so it is kinda weird...He has to have hock injections. I was just wondering if they always work, because I really dont want to get a new horse for showing. We already gave him a shot (I forget what it is called) but now he is just as lame as ever [Me Cry] . Any help would be apreciated!

*Amanda

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My horse Rusty is having some hock problems...He is only 8 and so it is kinda weird...He has to have hock injections. I was just wondering if they always work, because I really dont want to get a new horse for showing. We already gave him a shot (I forget what it is called) but now he is just as lame as ever [Me Cry] . Any help would be apreciated!

*Amanda

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Its usually from degenerative joint disease, Our 9 yr old mare has had issues with her hock also, and it was recommended ( by farrier, and friends) not the Vet,that look into getting the injection 5 yrs ago, but never did. I keep her on a joint supplement and am light with her work load, we avoid small circles and hard running, we do lots of trotting, and hill work helps build her up and has made her better than ever.. we have to be careful if she's had time off over the winter to lightly and slowly get her back in shape, I know alot of folks do use the hock injections but once you start, I don't think you can stop? can you? There are alot of products on the market now for joints,,,

Good luck with your guy, I sure hope he can make a recovery from this, I know how frustrating it can be...

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Its usually from degenerative joint disease, Our 9 yr old mare has had issues with her hock also, and it was recommended ( by farrier, and friends) not the Vet,that look into getting the injection 5 yrs ago, but never did. I keep her on a joint supplement and am light with her work load, we avoid small circles and hard running, we do lots of trotting, and hill work helps build her up and has made her better than ever.. we have to be careful if she's had time off over the winter to lightly and slowly get her back in shape, I know alot of folks do use the hock injections but once you start, I don't think you can stop? can you? There are alot of products on the market now for joints,,,

Good luck with your guy, I sure hope he can make a recovery from this, I know how frustrating it can be...

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You can't guarantee hock injections will work. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they help, but don't fix the problem to the extent that the horse can go back into heavy work.

Part of the question is how many joints have been injected ... sometimes vets do only one joint in each hock. Sometimes they do two in each hock and sometimes three in each hock. Often if just one joint is done, there is little to no improvement.

If you have the hocks injected without having radiographs, you don't really have much to go on about whether they will work or not. If you have radiographs and the vet can see the extent and area of the joint damage, you'll have a much clearer idea about the benefit of hock injections. But if the radiographs show that hock injections can be of benefit, they usually help at least to some extent.

As for the rumor that once you've injected the hocks, you have to keep doing it..... I'll tackle that one, too.

Hock injections don't damage the hocks. They don't have a negative impact on the future of the hocks. However, they don't always have a long lasting effect. But it really depends on each horse, the work he is doing, the care he is getting, and other factors. I knew one horse who had a fall and ended up lame in the hocks. He had his joints injected ONCE, and although he is kept on an intramuscular hylaronic acid injection on a bi-weekly basis, he has now competed in eventing for three years with no more hock injections. (He finished this season with a move up to Prelim, with four starts and four finishes at that level.)

That is a fairly unusual case, though. Usually, you have to think of hock injections as a maintenance issue ... like feeding a daily joint supplement, like giving wormer every eight weeks, etc, etc.

Usually, when the injections work, their effectiveness starts to wear off after six months ... or seven months ... or eight months, etc. IF and only if, the rider wants the horse to continue in the work and at the level they are used to, then the injections usually need to be repeated. Most horses who have hock injections regularly get it done one, two or three times a year. It is, however, possible for it to be done more often.

The only reason people say "once you've started you have to continue" is because it usually works so WELL, that when it DOES wear off they want to do, again, what worked. Hock injections usually work BETTER than joint supplements, etc. So, yes, if you want the same DEGREE of effectiveness then you have to repeat what worked (that is, do the hock injections again.)

They are not, usually, a "do it one time and the horse is cured forever and ever" type of thing. They are a maintenance thing ... like a daily joint supplement. It's important to think of it like that and remember that it is a maintenance issue, not a cure. But just like you can stop joint supplements ... and they will not have CURED anything, you CAN stop joint injections ... but typically they will not have CURED anything.

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You can't guarantee hock injections will work. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they help, but don't fix the problem to the extent that the horse can go back into heavy work.

Part of the question is how many joints have been injected ... sometimes vets do only one joint in each hock. Sometimes they do two in each hock and sometimes three in each hock. Often if just one joint is done, there is little to no improvement.

If you have the hocks injected without having radiographs, you don't really have much to go on about whether they will work or not. If you have radiographs and the vet can see the extent and area of the joint damage, you'll have a much clearer idea about the benefit of hock injections. But if the radiographs show that hock injections can be of benefit, they usually help at least to some extent.

As for the rumor that once you've injected the hocks, you have to keep doing it..... I'll tackle that one, too.

Hock injections don't damage the hocks. They don't have a negative impact on the future of the hocks. However, they don't always have a long lasting effect. But it really depends on each horse, the work he is doing, the care he is getting, and other factors. I knew one horse who had a fall and ended up lame in the hocks. He had his joints injected ONCE, and although he is kept on an intramuscular hylaronic acid injection on a bi-weekly basis, he has now competed in eventing for three years with no more hock injections. (He finished this season with a move up to Prelim, with four starts and four finishes at that level.)

That is a fairly unusual case, though. Usually, you have to think of hock injections as a maintenance issue ... like feeding a daily joint supplement, like giving wormer every eight weeks, etc, etc.

Usually, when the injections work, their effectiveness starts to wear off after six months ... or seven months ... or eight months, etc. IF and only if, the rider wants the horse to continue in the work and at the level they are used to, then the injections usually need to be repeated. Most horses who have hock injections regularly get it done one, two or three times a year. It is, however, possible for it to be done more often.

The only reason people say "once you've started you have to continue" is because it usually works so WELL, that when it DOES wear off they want to do, again, what worked. Hock injections usually work BETTER than joint supplements, etc. So, yes, if you want the same DEGREE of effectiveness then you have to repeat what worked (that is, do the hock injections again.)

They are not, usually, a "do it one time and the horse is cured forever and ever" type of thing. They are a maintenance thing ... like a daily joint supplement. It's important to think of it like that and remember that it is a maintenance issue, not a cure. But just like you can stop joint supplements ... and they will not have CURED anything, you CAN stop joint injections ... but typically they will not have CURED anything.

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www.texashorsetalk.com/dubois.htm Here is an article I recently ran across online when doing some research for a paper.

My vet pretty much does the same thing...before any sort of joint injection he always closely looks at hoof angle and boney column alignment. I'm in vet school and we are taught 90% of lameness issues are hoof related/caused.

Often just the slightest incorrect angle, for instance being a bit underrun in the rear hooves, will put strain on the hocks over time. Or if he is having issues with his front legs or hooves they will often hold more weight on the back then normal to alleviate discomfort, also causing hock or stifle problems.

After some balanced hoof care symptoms often improve and if you maintain it they will usually disappear. If the symptoms don't change at all it's then that you can start looking into genetics.

Hope that helps or at least give you some options to look into.

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www.texashorsetalk.com/dubois.htm Here is an article I recently ran across online when doing some research for a paper.

My vet pretty much does the same thing...before any sort of joint injection he always closely looks at hoof angle and boney column alignment. I'm in vet school and we are taught 90% of lameness issues are hoof related/caused.

Often just the slightest incorrect angle, for instance being a bit underrun in the rear hooves, will put strain on the hocks over time. Or if he is having issues with his front legs or hooves they will often hold more weight on the back then normal to alleviate discomfort, also causing hock or stifle problems.

After some balanced hoof care symptoms often improve and if you maintain it they will usually disappear. If the symptoms don't change at all it's then that you can start looking into genetics.

Hope that helps or at least give you some options to look into.

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quote:

Originally posted by RioTollerAgain:

Hock injections don't damage the hocks. They don't have a negative impact on the future of the hocks.

Actually, that's not 100% correct. With repeated and frequent use certain types of steroid (Depo Medrol for example) can actually speed up the rate of cartilage degradation. Ultimately it depends on what is being put in the joint, whether its just hyaluronic acid or if its HA & steroid and WHICH steroid is being used. In addition--not TOTALLY related--but joint infections as a result of injections (rare, but they do happen...) can most certainly have a negative impact on the joint.

All in all, thousands and thousands of horses (perhaps even millions...) have joints injected each year and as a result are succesfully able to continue to compete and work.

BUT....joint injections alone are an incomplete manner of dealing with the arthritis problems. I've been very satisfied with the results obtained with injectable Adequan (loading dose plus monthly shots) and oral Cosequin used in conjunction. If finances are a problem, always go for the injections over the oral supplements.

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quote:

Originally posted by RioTollerAgain:

Hock injections don't damage the hocks. They don't have a negative impact on the future of the hocks.

Actually, that's not 100% correct. With repeated and frequent use certain types of steroid (Depo Medrol for example) can actually speed up the rate of cartilage degradation. Ultimately it depends on what is being put in the joint, whether its just hyaluronic acid or if its HA & steroid and WHICH steroid is being used. In addition--not TOTALLY related--but joint infections as a result of injections (rare, but they do happen...) can most certainly have a negative impact on the joint.

All in all, thousands and thousands of horses (perhaps even millions...) have joints injected each year and as a result are succesfully able to continue to compete and work.

BUT....joint injections alone are an incomplete manner of dealing with the arthritis problems. I've been very satisfied with the results obtained with injectable Adequan (loading dose plus monthly shots) and oral Cosequin used in conjunction. If finances are a problem, always go for the injections over the oral supplements.

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I have done a LOT of research on this subject. One of my mine is in the process of having both of his hocks fusing. At this point they are about 3/4 fused. Once the fusing is complete the pain will be gone.

I too decided not to go with the hock injections.

Some of my reasons:

1) it's expensive

2) there is no way to know how long it will last.

3) Just because it lasted for 3-6 months the first time doesn't mean it will last that long the next time or the time after that.

4) You are still doing damage to the joint even after the injection. The pain may be gone but the original problem will still be there. It's not a cure. If you don't change the horses job description he may get worse until the injections no longer work.

5) There has been some research recently to show that after long term use the chances of the horse devloping Osteporosis is greatly increased

6) It's a steriod, and the jury is still out on what the long term effects are.

I cringe at your wording that he "has" to have hock injections. There are a lot of good products on the market to help with joint problems. Why do you say he "has" to have them?

Yes 8 is young, but George is only 13 and has had problems for three years.

I took the same approach as DH, we changed his job description. I no longer jump him and I too after winter, bring him back slowly. I also let George tell me what kind of day he is having and he sets the pace on any trail rides.

Currently he is on lakota Equine and Recovery EQ. So far it is working.

Good luck, I went thru lots of frustrating times in the last three years.

** as a side note: I once had a vet tell me that I didn't care about my horse because I choose not to do the injections. Don't let anyone tell you something like that.***

[ 12-22-2005, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: G&K'Smom ]

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I have done a LOT of research on this subject. One of my mine is in the process of having both of his hocks fusing. At this point they are about 3/4 fused. Once the fusing is complete the pain will be gone.

I too decided not to go with the hock injections.

Some of my reasons:

1) it's expensive

2) there is no way to know how long it will last.

3) Just because it lasted for 3-6 months the first time doesn't mean it will last that long the next time or the time after that.

4) You are still doing damage to the joint even after the injection. The pain may be gone but the original problem will still be there. It's not a cure. If you don't change the horses job description he may get worse until the injections no longer work.

5) There has been some research recently to show that after long term use the chances of the horse devloping Osteporosis is greatly increased

6) It's a steriod, and the jury is still out on what the long term effects are.

I cringe at your wording that he "has" to have hock injections. There are a lot of good products on the market to help with joint problems. Why do you say he "has" to have them?

Yes 8 is young, but George is only 13 and has had problems for three years.

I took the same approach as DH, we changed his job description. I no longer jump him and I too after winter, bring him back slowly. I also let George tell me what kind of day he is having and he sets the pace on any trail rides.

Currently he is on lakota Equine and Recovery EQ. So far it is working.

Good luck, I went thru lots of frustrating times in the last three years.

** as a side note: I once had a vet tell me that I didn't care about my horse because I choose not to do the injections. Don't let anyone tell you something like that.***

[ 12-22-2005, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: G&K'Smom ]

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Thanks guys! He isnt doing really hard work. We are just doing the 4-H showing. We compete in almost everything, but it is nothing hard. I will let you guys know how he is doing.

One question...will the injections stop the head-bobbing? I am sure it will, but you never know.

*Amanda

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Thanks guys! He isnt doing really hard work. We are just doing the 4-H showing. We compete in almost everything, but it is nothing hard. I will let you guys know how he is doing.

One question...will the injections stop the head-bobbing? I am sure it will, but you never know.

*Amanda

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quote:

Originally posted by cvm2002:

quote:

Originally posted by RioTollerAgain:

Hock injections don't damage the hocks. They don't have a negative impact on the future of the hocks.

Actually, that's not 100% correct. With repeated and frequent use certain types of steroid (Depo Medrol for example) can actually speed up the rate of cartilage degradation. Ultimately it depends on what is being put in the joint, whether its just hyaluronic acid or if its HA & steroid and WHICH steroid is being used. In addition--not TOTALLY related--but joint infections as a result of injections (rare, but they do happen...) can most certainly have a negative impact on the joint.

.... If finances are a problem, always go for the injections over the oral supplements.

Thanks CVM. Getting a clearer picture, and it is good to know which steroids to avoid using repeatedly or frequently. Also, I did know about the risk of infection, but I didn't really want to tackle that, since it wasn't exactly the angle I was looking at .... but it is true that anyone contemplating joint injections should at least be aware that there is a chance of infection.

And thanks also about that last piece of advice. Good to know!

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quote:

Originally posted by cvm2002:

quote:

Originally posted by RioTollerAgain:

Hock injections don't damage the hocks. They don't have a negative impact on the future of the hocks.

Actually, that's not 100% correct. With repeated and frequent use certain types of steroid (Depo Medrol for example) can actually speed up the rate of cartilage degradation. Ultimately it depends on what is being put in the joint, whether its just hyaluronic acid or if its HA & steroid and WHICH steroid is being used. In addition--not TOTALLY related--but joint infections as a result of injections (rare, but they do happen...) can most certainly have a negative impact on the joint.

.... If finances are a problem, always go for the injections over the oral supplements.

Thanks CVM. Getting a clearer picture, and it is good to know which steroids to avoid using repeatedly or frequently. Also, I did know about the risk of infection, but I didn't really want to tackle that, since it wasn't exactly the angle I was looking at .... but it is true that anyone contemplating joint injections should at least be aware that there is a chance of infection.

And thanks also about that last piece of advice. Good to know!

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