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Home:Equine Diseases: Ligament Damage


Equine Diseases

EQUINE LIGAMENTS DAMAGE




Ligaments are made up of fibrous tissue which connects bones to bones, bones to cartilages and bones to supporting muscles or organs such as the spleen or the uterus. Ligaments are very flexible and act as a unifying bond. There are three basic types of ligaments - articular ligaments, fibrous ligaments, and "true ligaments".
A lot of strain is put on a horse’s ligaments as they help support the horse’s weight.  The most vulnerable ligaments are those in the forelimbs,   particularly the supersensory ligament. The most vulnerable horses are  high-performance animals such as race horses and show jumpers.
Cushioning of the joints of these superstars is dependent on their ligaments being in top condition.  Injured ligaments can often retain scarring which reduces their flexibility.   Attention should therefore be paid to the following causes and preventive measures adopted to avoid them.  This will help ensure the successful career of a high performance horse.


CAUSES OF DAMAGE TO LIGAMENTS

Exhaustion
Overtraining
Fiber tearing 
Repetitive over-use
Not enough warm-up and cool-down
Falls, slips
Hoof imbalances, 
Incorrect trimming
Compression fractures


SYMPTOMS OF LIGAMENT INJURY


Horse not performing well
Horse not moving well
Swelling & Inflammation around joints
Lameness
Heat around joints


TREATMENT OF DAMAGED EQUINE LIGAMENTS


Place your horse in a stall to prevent further injury.                            
Call your vet for a diagnosis which will be arrived at by palpating the limb to ascertain which ligament is involved.  This should then be confirmed by ultra sounding the affected area.
Icing and cold spraying will reduce inflammation very effectively within the first 48 to 72 hours after injury. 

Typical prescribed treatment would most likely be Hydro therapy, hand-walking, and anti-inflammatory medications.
  
The horse should be rested with as little exercise as possible, for the time recommended by your vet.
Stem cell treatment is held to be very effective for some forms of damaged ligaments.