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Over the past five years, vet Stephen Ashdown has written many articles, spoken on equine matters and contributed widely to horse magazines.

Here he reproduces in the form of questions and answers about 100 topics, all of them common problems which afflict horses.

To access Topics click on Vet Advice Menu.

What are these Swellings?
Q. I am worried about my yearling Irish Draught x. He rests both his hindlegs most of the time and he has what looks like a fluid-filled swelling on each hock joint.

They are where I imagine a bone spavin would be but they are soft and I can't push them from side to side. He isn't lame and the swellings don't seem to cause him pain. Do you have any idea what they could be and what I could do to strengthen his joints?

A. The situation you describe sounds as if it may cause problems in the future. The swellings are more than likely caused by a build up of synovial fluid in the hock joint - these are commonly called bog spavins. However, there is a small chance his problem could be something more sinister such as osteochondrosis (damage to joint cartilage).

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The fact he rests his hindlegs so much might indicate he has a little discomfort in them. I suggest you start on a supplementation regime to strengthen the hock joints and this will also ensure that any cartilage damage heals well or regenerates.

Use a bone strengthening supplement to ensure the right calcium/magnesium balance. Also feed the best mineral supplement you can afford.

Do ask your vet to look at your yearling. He may decide to X-ray the hock joint to check for any abnormalities.

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