Ask the Vet – Bone spavin vs. bog spavin in horses

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SARAH: “What’s the difference
between bone spavin and bog spavin? How do each affect the
horse, and how can they be prevented or treated?” DR ANDY KANEPS: Both of those
items, bone spavin and bog spavin, involve the hock. Bone spavin involves
the joints and the bone, and it’s usually osteoarthritis. And osteoarthritis is a
degenerative condition of the cartilage and
bone that results in proliferation of new
bone in the horse’s attempt to fuse the joint. Bog spavin is extra fluid in
the upper joints of the hock. And that can be also
associated with osteoarthritis or inflammation for another
cause in that joint. Bog spavin may also be present
in the cases in a young horse of OCD or osteochondrosis. There, taking radiographs and
finding the specific diagnosis will help identify
the cause of that. Treatment of those conditions
would be for the bone spavin as you would any osteoarthritis. Non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory medications. Sometimes topical
anti-inflammatories. And in some situations,
joint injections. SARAH: And is there
anything anyone can do it like a preventative
measure for either condition? DR ANDY KANEPS: Maintaining good
body condition of the horse. Strength. Good muscle tone is
very, very important. Good shoeing. Also working your
horse on good footing. Rather than a rock hard
ring, have something with nice cushion to it. Those factors are the most
important parts of prevention. Supportive things that
may help, but it’s not research-supported,
are items like the oral joint supplements,
medications that may be injected in the muscle
or in the joint may help limit the progression
of osteoarthritis once it is there. SARAH: I think a
lot of horse owners, it’s really common for them to
think of it as an acute problem because it’s a problem
you find in one area. And so they think, oh there’s
something wrong with his hock. But to your point, it’s
really about thinking about the whole horse and how
his whole life is affecting the things that led
up to that problem. And so that’s the body
condition, how you’re shoeing, how you’re
riding, all of those things are where these types of
problems can come from. DR ANDY KANEPS:
That’s very true. I mean it’s wear
and tear, and it’s going to happen to different
degrees in most horses. It’s doing the best you can
to give the horse the best type of life. SARAH: Yeah, set
him up for success. DR ANDY KANEPS: Yes,
set him up for success.


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