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A horse with stifle issues in any pain - Equestrian

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Re: Horse with stifle issue in any pain? Hopefully you have your answer by now. But in case you don't, yes - it is possible for stifle issues to result in pain. The stifle joint is equivalent to our knee. But the horse's knee cap is attached with 3 ligaments, not just one, like ours. In stifle lameness, the ligaments - or at least one ligament - is/are too long. As a result, the knee cap gets hooked over the end of the femur, above the stifle joint. This can cause the leg to remain stiffly extended behind the horse, or it may just catch-and-let-go-suddenly, causing potential damage to the joint, probably some bucking/kicking in an attempt to release the joint, and potentially also pain. One way to help a horse with minor stifle issues is to repeatedly back it up a slope. Don't over-do the exercise, but it will need to be repeated frequently enough to help the horse gain strength in the flank and gaskins. If the stifle lameness has progressed enough that the horse's normal movement is frequently halted, it may be possible for your veterinarian to quickly and easily solve the problem with stifle surgery. It is a simple procedure (fairly common in race horses) in which one of the ligaments is surgically sliced right through. The remaining ligaments can then apply their forces without the influence of the third ligament, allowing the kneecap to travel a different pathway - where it no longer gets caught on the end of the femur. Unfortunately this procedure is not always possible for very small ponies (such as mini horses) as the structure of the stifle joint may be too small and delicate. Good luck with your horse!

Posted on Dec 23, 2018

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