Innovative Research on Equine Lameness & Equine Conditioning Tips

A jumping horse showing motion of legs.
A jumping horse showing motion of legs. Mark Kent

Newsdate: Monday, January 25, 2021 - 9:35 am
Location: GUELPH, Ontario

Could biologic therapies be the future for treating joint disease? Ontario Veterinary College researcher, Dr. Mark Hurtig and his team are investigating novel new methods to potentially repair tissue rather than just suppressing the signs of joint disease.

Two horses playfully showing athletic abilities.

Two horses playfully showing athletic abilities

Dr Hurtig is excited about his research on Intra Articular therapies using direct injection into the joint as a targeted therapy but cautions against injections used for maintenance.
© 2016 by Ventura New window.

Hurtig also explains the mechanism and contributing factors to fetlock chip fractures stating they can be related to the surface that the horse works on and the intensity of that work.

As a rider and veterinarian, Dr. Hurtig provides some precautions when resuming training of a horse:

    •    Return to exercise slowly and incrementally with lots of walking

    •    When introducing trotting avoid hard surfaces.

    •    Avoid complex moves at first – promote relaxation.

    •    Allow an adaptation time when working on new surfaces and cross-train on the surfaces you intend to expose your horse to.

Regarding the period of time required before a horse is ready for harder work, Hurtig says, “It depends on the bio-mechanical challenge to their muscular skeletal system.”

One could spend at least three months preparation before the horse is ready for high level performance.  It can also take up to a year to get ligaments and tendons ready for Olympic level sport.

Hurtig is excited about his research on Intra Articular therapies that utilize direct injection into the joint as a targeted therapy but cautions against injections used for maintenance or as a preventative measure.

Want to learn more about lameness?  Equine Guelph has free healthcare tools: Lameness Lab and Journey through the Joints.


Press release by Equine Guelph

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