Arthritis in Horses

Arthritis is one of the most common ailments for horses, especially older horses and ponies. The condition; where the cartilage of a joint wears down, results in pain (sometimes leading to lameness) and difficulty moving about. This can most often be recognized with stiffness and swelling around a joint and a horses reluctance to work. Although arthritis cannot be cured, it can often be managed, especially if recognised early. So just what can you do to manage a horse with arthritis? We meet Puzzle to find out how his owner keep his arthritis in check.

Protechmasta for Equine Arthritis

This is Puzzle, a 19-year-old cheeky 14.1hh pony who acts neither his age nor his size. Having enjoyed jumping, hunting, low-level dressage and general hacking out for many years, he has recently begun to feel a bit stiff. The cause, diagnosed by an equine vet; the beginning of arthritis in his hip and hock.

Managing Arthritis in Horses

When arthritis is recognized, the main goal is to reduce further inflammation around the affected joint, preventing further damage and easing any pain. Luckily, there are a number of ways to do this which can be easily worked into an everyday routine.

To manage his early arthritis, Puzzle’s routine has a few key elements:

  • Exercise. To ease stiffness and help strengthen muscles that stabilize joints, light to moderate riding is encouraged, as long as your horse is comfortable. Puzzle still enjoys regular hacking, schooling and pole work. 
  • Warm-up thoroughly. Puzzle needs a little longer to loosen up now; riding at a walk for 10-15 minutes at the beginning of the session (much to his dismay!)
  • Lots of turnout. Being turned out during the day means your horse is constantly moving around, again helping to reduce stiffness which can occur from being stationary.
  • Stretches, Puzzle’s favourite trick. Carrot stretches are great for helping with mobility and keeping the muscles flexible. Puzzle does this by reaching for a carrot on either side of his belly, then between his legs, where he has to bow down to reach it. 
  • Supplements. We have started giving puzzle Natural Bute Substitute as well as Glucosamine 5000 with added Vitamin C and both seem to be making a difference to him. He is moving around more freely and seems happier in his general demeanour since we have started using these supplements.

How Protechmasta helps manage arthritis in Horses

Woven with special ceramic fibres, the Protechmasta rug emits and reflects Far Infrared Radiation (FIR). Having been used as an aid to healing for centuries, FIR helps to enhance the body’s natural functions.

Protechmasta works by gently regulating the horse’s temperature and increasing circulation. For arthritic horses, this is especially important, as not only does it reduce joint pain, but it allows the muscle to warm up before exercise, and similarly cool down safely afterwards.

In addition to this, Protechmasta also helps to reduce inflammation through expanding the blood vessels and allowing removal of toxins and build-up of fluid, a key concern for horses with arthritis. Puzzle wears his Protechmasta rug as part of his prevention and management routine and our vet agrees it is making a difference to his mobility. He wears his rug before and after exercise to aid warming up, and overnight to prevent the onset of stiffness. He leaves the stable with a spring in his step every morning and we're looking forward to trying more of the Protechmasta products in the future. 

More information about the benefits of Protechmasta, including a clinical trial, can be found here.

How the Mastacare Natural Bute Substitute could help:

Product tester Sonya Anne Perry has been testing the Mastacare Natural Bute Substitute for just over three weeks now, and her verdict?

"We tested the Mastacare Natural Bute Substitute on our 22-year-old semi-retired polo pony ‘Pancake’. She is an Argentinian pony who has had to deal with the difficulties posed by living in the West of Scotland. Which generally means cold, windy, wet and murky weather. She is quite thin-skinned and has rear end arthritis, as well as aches and pains caused by a relatively hard life playing polo.

We normally support her aches and pains (and she normally tells us as she can be a crabby ginger mare) by using either bute or Danilon. However, for the last month, she has been on the Mastacare Natural Bute.
The first picture is day one showcasing that the bute is palatable and she has no issues eating her dinner! She has continued to eat well and despite getting a little hairier in preparation for the Scottish winter, she is looking happy and healthy, and less inclined to chew your face off