Lameness in the Horse

By Lauren Lamb

Every horse owner dreads the day they go out to ride or exercise their horse and notice that their equine athlete is lame. For a horse owner, this can create multiple questions and concerns relating to what may have caused the lameness, how serious the injury is, what it is going to cost, etc.

Calling your local veterinarian and scheduling a lameness examine is the first step to fixing your lame horse.

In the meantime, your horse should be kept in a stall or small paddock until he or she can be examined by your veterinarian. You may administer Bute or Banamine while your horse is on stall rest; however, your horse should not receive any Bute or Banamine at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled lameness exam because they may mask the lameness and distort the lameness exam results.

Early diagnosis and appropriate “pinpoint” therapy is the best and quickest way to get your horse back to performing at a high level. An additional benefit to early diagnosis is the reduced amount of ongoing damage to the injured joint, ligament or tendon. Pinpoint therapy involves treating a specific joint, ligament, tendon, etc., that is causing the lameness rather than using a “shotgun” method of treating the entire horse with anti-inflammatories or supplements.

To learn more about lameness, read Lameness in the Horse in the March issue of OKFR.