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.

Herbal help for ringbone
Q: My 15 year old Clydesdale has been diagnoses with ringbone. Can you tell me more about this condition and whether there are any herbal remedies that may help?

A. Ringbone is a condition where extra bone is laid down inside or around the joints. This extra bone can disturb the normal working of the joint and cause pain and discomfort. It's difficult to treat.

There are two approaches to this type of problem. Firstly, a vet can prescribe a painkiller, such a phenylbutazone (bute) to make the joints more comfortable.

Secondly, supplements can be given to strengthen the bone so it's less likely to produce ringbone and also to improve joint function in general. If the ringbone is within the joint, supplements aimed at improving the internal working of the joint will be the most useful.

If the ringbone is a simple variety affecting only the outer area of the joint, your horse won't really benefit from a joint supplement-but there are other supplements available to help reduce the amount of Bute you need to give.

The most effective of these may contain ginger and frankincense. Herbal formulas containing comfrey may be useful as well as homeopathic preparations containing Rhus Tox Rutal and Arnica.

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