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.

Her fetlocks are swollen
Q: Over the past year my two-year-old Orlov Trotter has occasionally come in from the field with swollen fetlocks.

This has happened five times, but not always on the same leg. There is no heat in the affected leg and the swelling goes down usually after about five days. Is there any advice you can give me to stop this happening?

A: Without a clinical examination, it is difficult to know exactly which part of your horse's fetlock is damaged. Your vet might like to try flexion tests when the swelling is present to try to isolate exactly where the problem is.

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The swelling could be due to too much fluid building up inside the joint causing large windgalls, or it may just be puffiness in the soft tissue outside and surrounding the joint. You do need to address this problem before major damage occurs that could make her lame.

Repetitive swellings such as this may be linked to subtle nutritional deficiencies making soft tissue more prone to mild damage when she is moving quickly or on an uneven surface such as any normal paddock! I suggest you feed a good quality mineral supplement with chelated (protein bound) compounds that are easily absorbed.

In addition, try MSM (bioavailable sulphur) for at last three months to ensure her tendons and ligaments are as strong as possible. Herbs such as comfrey or cissus quadrangularis may also be useful to improve calcium and magnesium balance.

If the problem stems from inside the joint one of the many glucosamine type products will help strengthen joint cartilage.


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