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.

Old Horses like people, can suffer from minor joint problems due to normal wear and tear.

Q: I have started to notice a clicking noise in the joints of my 27- year- old cob mare. It sounds as if it's coming mainly from her hip region and I can hear it when she moves.

We hack out three or four times a week and she always enjoys herself. Apart from this strange noise, she's sound and shows no signs of stiffness. I currently give her Super Codivine Supple Joint Supplement, garlic, salt and cod- liver oil, along with her normal feed. Is there anything else that might help her?

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A: In horses, as in people, clicking joints can occur due to normal wear and tear. The problem may be within the joint or associated with the soft tissue (muscles and ligaments) that stabilise the joint. Supplements can make a big difference because subtle deficiencies can build up as the digestive systems slow down with age and becomes less efficient.

For this reason, my first approach would be to stimulate both digestive and liver function with a liver tonic such as the herbal product Restore. Quite often this is enough to help horses redress imbalances and joints quickly get back to normal.

As well as a digestive tonic, a vitamin and mineral supplement can be useful to ensure trace element deficiencies are still present. In older horses, there may be more serious joint damage that has already taken place and three to six month's supplementation of a specific joint nutrition product containing glucosamine might do the trick.

Herbs to improve calcium uptake from the food may also help and I suggest you try six months supplementation with Bone & Hoof formula, available from Global Herbs.

Clicking Joints (2)


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