Human athletes put their bodies through vigorous training, and the constant pounding on joints can cause significant issues like ligament and tendon tears, fractures, and inflammation. These issues can even lead to chronic conditions like arthritis. Imagine those issues in a 1200- pound athlete's body. As you prepare your sport horse for competition, you're pushing it to its physical limits. Therefore, injury prevention and care should be a vital part of training.
A term covering a broad spectrum of ailments, Lameness, is simply an abnormality in a horse’s movement caused by pain or reduced range of motion. Lameness is not always a problem of the feet or legs. It can involve virtually any part of the body, such as pain in the neck, withers, shoulders, back, loin or hips. We veterinarians use a 0 to 5 grading scale to describe various degrees of lameness, with 0 being sound and 5 being non-weight bearing on a limb. Complicating matters, Lameness can also manifest in more subtle ways; feeling uneven when you ride, picking up the wrong lead, carrying head to the outside of a circle, refusing to jump, reacting when his back is pressed and so on.
If you notice a change in your horse's demeanor and/or work ethic, or believe your horse isn't performing fully in training, or is visually lame, consider Countryside as your diagnostic and treatment choice to get your athlete back to its highest performance level.
At Countryside Equine, we offer diagnostic testing to uncover these performance-altering ailments. With the newest technology in ultrasonography, radiography, endoscopy and in-depth lameness examinations, Countryside is able to diagnose and treat your horse in an outpatient setting at your farm. Hospitalization is offered for more involved cases featuring round-the-clock care with follow-up exams, treatments and rehabilitation programs.
A prompt examination can save you time, money, frustration, and possibly prevent further damage. Our goal of such early examinations is to keep small problems from becoming big ones.
Equine sports medicine involves not only maintaining your horse's optimal health so that they lead a quality life, but also ensuring their fitness and health can withstand the rigors of their training and performance schedule. This will look different for every horse athlete.
The equine vets at Countryside Veterinary Services in Covington have years of experience in ensuring sports horses are well-cared for and can maintain a high performance level for years. Horses especially are built for work, whether they pull a sleigh for tourists or they are Olympic jumpers. Their bodies are more than capable of handling the pressure. However, they can be overworked, and if a minor injury or tweak is not treated promptly, it can become something major quickly.
Horses rely on their owners to ensure their adequate health and well-being. Staying in tune with your horse and noticing their temperaments and when they are just "off" are key to their performance. Then, having a top-rated equine vet in your corner when something is awry can make all the difference. Trust your sports performance horse to us.
Most equine athletes will at some point in their lives have an injury that will affect their training. Whether it's excessive scar tissue that has developed over a tendon injury or it's inflammation of the joints from the continual pounding of jumping, sports horses need extra care. The treatment of the lameness and prognosis for recovery will vary according to each unique situation, and is both science and art. Treatment recommendations from the veterinarians at Countryside are based on a deep understanding of equine anatomy and physiology, conformation, biomechanics, and modern medicine. We also take into account changing conditions, horse types, uses and personalities, and owner needs.
In addition to Lameness diagnostics and treatment, we can help you stay ahead of your horse’s health by reviewing and recommending best practices in equine sports medicine, such as:
Equine nutrition is key to the performance of your horse. Your horse needs a well-balanced diet that will support their activities, as well as their gut health. Sports horses need extra vitamin E and selenium supplementation in order to ensure proper muscle function and to help with recovery from their activities.
As you know, the care of your horse's feet is essential since they spend the majority of their lives standing. Having your sport horse's feet checked out on a regular basis by an equine vet can help diagnose any early hoof problems and maintain their foot health, too. Ensure your horse has the right shoes by seeing a farrier regularly too.
If your horse's teeth hurt, it won't eat, or it may resist the bit, which will impact their sports performance. Common equine dental issues include broken teeth, excessively worn teeth, sharp enamel points on their cheek teeth, infected teeth and/or gums, and misaligned teeth. We recommend six-month oral exams, corrective dental procedures if needed, and attention to their chewing and eating habits.
Rather than waiting for lameness issues to arise, joint therapies can be used prophylactically to prevent problems. Adequan and Legend are both injectable joint therapies that relieve inflammation associated with osteoarthritis or synovitis. Legend is given through an intravenous injection and Adequan is given in the muscle.
The collaborative work between the owner and veterinarian is critical to your horse’s soundness and overall health, particularly in the performance horse. At Countryside we pride ourselves on working closely with our clients.
As many of our clients know, we love sharing our knowledge and important animal health news. Our blog contains valuable educational resources in one easy location.