Pondering Joint Support

I don’t have any real conclusions as yet, but I’m evaluating Tristan’s overall joint support program.

The basic facts:

  • Tris is 24, though a relatively lightly-used 24; he was started at 10, and did low-level eventing for his first eight years and low-level dressage the last six.
  • We’re asking him to work harder than he’s ever worked before right now, and he’s starting to act out in ways that might be pain-related (or they might be brain-related)
  • On the other hand, he’s also got to keep in work to stay healthy and happy and I’m not ready to retire him, so dressage-as-physical-therapy is the name of the game for hopefully many more years yet.
  • His current diet is very minimal; he gets a little bit of grain, a ration balancer, electrolytes, Prascend, and vitamin E. July-September he gets cetirizine to fight his allergies. The rest is hay and grass.
  • Current joint support is monthly Pentosan injections that have been spotty since about January.
  • Spring 2018 he did a lameness eval with our vet just to make sure everything was okay. He flexed “mildly” positive in both LH & RH in the trot, but nothing to write home about – basically old man stiffness that the vet just shrugged at.
  • He has had several chiropractic evaluations and three different vets have all told me that they basically adjusted nothing and he was fine in that department.

What I’m thinking about:

  • For sure we are going to have the general lameness vet out in probably September to do a general review. I don’t have a specific complaint, just a general “he’s kicking out more than usual when we ask him to move forward, but really mostly in the warmup”
  • We are definitely going to re-establish a firm Pentosan schedule for him, probably do another loading dose (1 shot per week for four weeks) and maybe think about every two weeks instead of monthly.
  • I’m also considering Cosequin ASU; he had a brief trial on that about a year and a half ago and went spectacularly well on it, but I didn’t keep him on it long enough to get a strong proof of causation, just correlation. (I got a free tub of it through a giveaway.)
  • The biggest question mark is whether the vet recommends joint injections. Question the first, which joints? (Probably hocks.) Question the second, with what? I’m wary of steroid injections given his (mild and completely under control) Cushings.

So, here we are. Pondering.

Anyone have anything they’re doing right now that they’re really happy with?

3 thoughts on “Pondering Joint Support

  1. I’d be weary of steroid injections on a Cushings horse. We think hock injections is what led Jampy to founder (though we had done them regularly for many years, so who really knows). Also agree with L, they may already be fused. I had great results with the pentosan, and just being more on top of that may be all you really need. I have no idea if supplements actually help or not. I keep mine on a joint supplement because I HOPE it’s helping. But honestly? No idea. I use senior flex h/a.


  2. BTDT. At his age, the hocks are likely fused. Look at the SI joint, also consider hoof angles and shoeing. My now 19-year-old QH mare had hock injections for a couple of years until they started fusing, then we had five years of drama around white line disease and the discovery that, well, the external hoof angles are not the RIGHT hoof angles to shoe her by (x-rays told the tale, plus she lost 1/4 inch off of both front coffin bones). But now she is sassy and somewhat stronger, if opinionated and wanting to act like she’s 9 instead of 19. She has pretty significant sickle hocks and cow hocks, but dang can she ever stop and spin. Not so fast now as when she was younger, and it’s a good thing she was never competed hard.


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