Osteoarthritis is typically associated with older horses. It is a degenerative joint disease that has the potential to cause great pain, especially when left untreated. The condition may occur through age-related wear and tear of a joint or as a result of a specific trauma.
Simply, arthritis happens when there is a breakdown of the cartilage that protects the joints. With the absence of this fortifying cartilage, the bones are left to rub together, causing painful swelling. Arthritis in horses may occur with a broken bone, an infection or as a result of years of labor or intense exercise.
To treat osteoarthritis in aging horses and prevent further damage to the bone under the joint cartilage, veterinarians tend to take an integrative approach. This means the treatment is not acutely focused on the troubled areas, but rather combines a holistic healthcare regiment to keep horses comfortable and hold the progression of the disease at bay. This involves supporting the affected limb, physiotherapy, rest and occasionally the prescription of medicinal drugs.
However, many natural solutions are available if conventional medicine is not preferred. Studies have revealed that some cases of equine osteoarthritis improved with the addition of aloe vera gel to their daily diets. Aloe vera possesses aspirin-like compounds that act as an anti-inflammatory, making it an effective treatment for arthritis. If a horse is suffering from osteoarthritis, aloe vera may reduce swelling and stiffness to alleviate the pain. It is necessary to always consult with a veterinarian before introducing a new supplement into your horse’s diet.
Past article: “Aloe Vera and Arthritis“