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Home:Equine Diseases: Equine Osteomyelitis

Equine Diseases

Equine Osteomyelitis



Equine osteomyelitis is an infection in the bone/bone marrow of your horse.  The equine osteomyelitis bacteria get inside the bone cells via the bloodstream and then attach themselves to bone tissue.  These bacteria can also enter the bone via an open wound to the area.

Equine osteomyelitis can occur in multiple bones simultaneously.    It is found in all horses regardless of age but equine osteomyelitis affects foals in particular.  
Equine osteomyelitis causes damage due to choking the blood supply to the affected area, affecting the immune system therefore making it difficult for the body to fight off the infection.

Your farrier is key to being vigilant in the management of your horse’s feet thus avoiding the infections leading to equine osteomyelitis.  He/she will spot irregularities when shoeing and hopefully prevent or decrease instances of equine osteomyelitis.

A painful hot foot coupled with lameness and a reluctance to bear weight will all be symptoms of equine osteomyelitis.

The causes of equine osteomyelitis

These will range from a current or past injury which may have affected the bone, leaving it vulnerable to equine osteomyelitis, to insertion of metal plates after previous surgery, infection in another part of the body spreading through the blood and entering the bone, previous history of laminitis or trauma to the affected area before onset of the equine osteomyelitis infection.
You should call your vet as soon as you suspect symptoms of equine osteomyelitis.  A test of the joint fluid will establish degree of damage resulting in treatment ranging from joint lavage to antibiotics, homeopathic treatments (via a skilled practictioner) to surgery.