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Home:Equine Diseases: Ringbone Disease


Equine Diseases

Equine Diseases - Ringbone




Equine ringbone is a progressive equine disease. There is no cure for it but treatment is very good at slowing the progression of the ringbone and if your horse is not doing strenuous work, it can have a very good quality of life.
Ringbone is often referred to as equine osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD).

High ringbone occurs on the pastern and low ringbone occurs on the coffin joints. Stress on these joints causes inflammation and pain, causing the body to react by creating bone to try and stabilise the joint. This extra bone growth is ringbone with the growth increasing in line with pain increase.
Ringbone is most often found in mature horses,
Symptoms of ringbone can be any of a range of things from lameness through bony growth around the pastern area, heat and swelling around the joint, shortened stride and reduced flexibility and mobility in the pastern or coffin joint.

Main cause of ringbone is abnormal stress on these joints due to some of the following:
1. blunt trauma or lacerations to the joint
2. poor foot conformation such as long toes and low heels
3. Improper shoeing
4. working on uneven or poor ground surfaces
5. unevenness side-to-side on the foot


The treatment of ringbone is multi-faceted. Your vet will diagnose ringbone by using x-rays to determine its presence.
The immediate steps you can take yourself will be to decrease your horse’s workload to relieve the pain of ringbone. Your farrier will need to be consulted to design special shoes to facilitate the ringbone growth. Exercise management will be important.
Moving on to medication, anti-inflammatories, intravenous joint injections of hyaluronic acid such as Legend I.V or Adequan IM, Herbal supplements such as yucca and devil’s claw are known to help ringbone as are oral daily joint supplements such as chondroitin sulphate, glucosamine or MSM.
Procedures such as extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) – a high intensity specialised percussion device can help to remodel new bone tissue and decrease ringbone pain.
Physical therapy will also be recommended.