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.

Splint problem
Q: My six-year-old cob type horse has been diagnosed with a splint. What is this and will it lead to lameness? Also are there any homeopathic remedies, which will help?

A: A splint occurs when there is damage to the ligaments, which attach the splint bone to the cannon bone. A splint bone is comparable to a small toe or finger that is not used for support. Horses stand on just one toe, which has a hoof on the end of it. When damage occurs to ligaments between splint and the cannon bone, the tissue does not easily heal completely and is always prone to becoming inflamed again, causing pain and lameness.

The worse thing that can happen with a horse prone to splints is that the lameness comes and goes frequently never healing properly and always causing problems. A three-month period of rest is often necessary to recover from such problems. The inflammation may also affect the knee or hock joints if you are very unlucky. I think perhaps the nest way of tackling splints is by using homeopathic remedies.

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Particular remedies to strengthen the bone and dampen down inflammation can settle conditions quite dramatically. Would be best to have a work with a local homeopathic vet to seek the best advice for your horse.

However in our practice we use Arnica 200c when the pain first starts (hourly for four doses), thereafter giving Ruta grav 1M three times daily for up to a week. This helps to prevent enlargement of and calm the coating (periosteum) of the bone. When splints persist Calc fluor 30c can be given.

The remedy needs to be given twice weekly for up to three months. We have good success treating new splints, but these options are always useful when trying to treat older cases too.

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