Spavins - how do you manage them?

peanut

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Following on from my other thread on lameness, I had a great response (thank you) and popular opinion seems to be that hock spavins are an issue, although I am leaving the final diagnosis of my particular horse to the vet/professionals who know her in person.

To those of you who have experience of horses with spavins, how do you manage them on a day to day basis? Supplements are a minefield as there are so many on the market and what works for one horse, doesn't necessarily work for another!

What do you do that enables your horse to lead a happy, normal and comfortable life?
 
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exracehorse

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My lad has bone spavins. I avoid uneven ground and he slips from behind on the sand school surface. Toe dragging rear right in trot. Supplements didn't make any difference. I'm turning out as much as possible.
 

Auslander

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Alf lives out 24/7, and I keep him in light work, but am careful about surfaces. He also has ligament issues, so I don't ride him on soft going or deep surfaces, but for the spavin element, I don't trot on the road, and I let him warm up very well before doing anything faster than a walk. He's pretty good at telling me when he's warmed up - he stops trudging along with his nose on the floor, and start marching out and spooking/bouncing/acting the wally!
He has a high oil diet, and is on a bespoke anti-inflammatory supplement from Hack-up (and I DO notice a difference in him if I don't use it for a few days). I also use an Arc Equine machine on him, and he is pretty comfortable at the moment.
 

3OldPonies

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P has spavins. Initial treatment was to turn him out for a year with no ridden work, just walking in hand, until the bones had fused. Then light ridden work, avoiding bumpy/overly hard terrain and no fast stuff (he doesn't jump so no problems there1). Once things had settled down it was back to business pretty much as normal - but then I was/am a happy hacker! Years after the event, and with him being retired now the spavins seem to be fine and not causing any problems, unless he has a hooley in the field when the ground is hard.
 

Lucyad

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Mine was diagnosed with spavins 6 years ago now - he has had 2 courses of Adequan injections for flare-ups, and each time has been through rehab of walking in straight lines. He gets Cosequin and Turmeric with oil. His hocks looked pretty good on last x-ray (I had assumed that they had fused, but apparently they have not), though his physio thinks his left might be a little stiff now (before it was right) so I will be keeping an eye on it. He is out as much as possible (in at night in winter), I minimise trotting on roads, do not use studs, do not lunge. We do a bit of everything, hunt, jump, dressage etc. However we don't have an arena so most of our work is hacking. I also don't jump him over 1m, or terribly frequently.
 

peanut

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P has spavins. Initial treatment was to turn him out for a year with no ridden work, just walking in hand, until the bones had fused.
How long does it normally take for the bones to fuse? I've heard that this sorts the problem out, but is it inevitable that they will fuse eventually?

He gets Cosequin and Turmeric with oil.
I've read great things about Turmeric and the medicinal benefits of feeding it to both animals and humans - it seems to be one of those super-foods.
 

ester

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The thing is the tildren used previously is intended to stop deterioration/delay/prevent fusion so it may be different for your mare.
 

EPRider

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After two years off work one of ours is now worked on bute. We do carriage driving on roads and tracks but keep away from circles and arena work as this shortens her stride a lot.
 

digitalangel

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my old boy has spavins - hes fine schooling but we dont trot on the road. he slightly drags one toe but its hardly noticeable. hes kept going with injections into the hock, as much turnout as we can, keep him in work, and bute if hes really bad. he also has supplements. vet is very happy with his way of moving for his age and we have his full support - he is 19 and still competing ele, but i let him dictate the work level. i dont school him much past this level. he definitely lets me know if hes not coping and we step down a gear for a while.
 

old hand

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Mine was diagnosed last December. he was worked through on the advice of the vet, no bute at all as it will stop them fusing, nor was he allowed joint supplements for the same reason. I have fed 30mg of calcium plus a full dose of vitamins and minerals. The most important thing was to rebalance his feet , they were caused by a medio lateral imbalance ( not my farrier he was on sales livery) he was significantly shorter on the outside edges of his feet which twisted his hocks and bingo - spavins. my farrier put this right in two visits and he was stiff at first but was kept in full work, lungeing, schooling although we laid off the lateral work until recently. He is now sound and has been showjumping since May. Only up to 1.20 at the moment but not even a stiff day after a show. In fact the only time he was ever stiff was if I knocked the work back. I don't know if his are different as it was due to the imbalance but have known several other jumpers who have them and who have competed happily til late teens. He bucks and clowns around in the field and gallops flat out round the field on his own so he thinks he is sound. Have done very little road work and have only walked ( about once a month) as I think this jars the joints.
 

I.M.N.

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My hunter has a spavin. He's hunted 3 seasons with it, jumps anything in front of him off ground ranging from frozen to bog, trots, jogs and canters on roads. He's no worse for it. The only thing I changed is I keep him on Micronised linseed, it's a life saver for him, he hasn't come out of the stable on 3 legs since he's been on it, and he has a back of track hock boot, which he wears over night when it gets really cold. And I don't take him in an arena, he gets lightly schooled on our hacks.
 

Penny Less

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My mare has spavin and vet and farrier advised raised heels on her shoes which she has had for the past 2 years .As she is no longer ridden I am wondering about taking shoes off altogether now . Would this do her any harm ?
 

JoJo_

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I recently sold my gelding who has spavin in both hocks to a lower level home just to hack, do some local showing and prelim dressage. He was diagnosed when he was 9 and we continued up to novice/elem dressage and jumping 80-90cm but I felt if I continued at that level he would deteriorate so made the hard decision to sell as he was only 11 and has so many years ahead of him at lower level. I fed him Hack up bespoke anti inflam/joint supplement. He had steroid injections and tildren treatment when first diagnosed which kept him sound. I think spavin is different in every horse. Some think spavin = lameness and retirement and maybe that is the case in some horses but it certainly wasnt for mine. Vets reckon his age was a good thing as older horses struggle more.

Its all about management and not riding on hard ground or too soft.
 

3OldPonies

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How long does it normally take for the bones to fuse? I've heard that this sorts the problem out, but is it inevitable that they will fuse eventually?QUOTE]

Once fused - no more problems. (In theory) It's kind of been proven for my boy. OK he had a year off, but in the scheme of things I think it has worked as well, if not better, than others I know who've tried to keep going. His lameness wore off in a couple of months, I don't know exactly how long it took for the bones to fuse, but it must have been a while - for them to fuse and for the 'new' bone to stabilise. I would honestly recommend taking a slow and practical approach. The diagnosis happened in 2002 and he's still with me (albeit retired now) and sound as a pound. (Retirement btw was down to an issue with his back, nothing to do with his legs!)
 
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