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SmartPak Monday Morning Feed: Ask the Vet, Joint Health Awareness Month Edition

Happy January — it’s Joint Health Awareness Month! Our friends at SmartPak have a brand-new Ask the Vet video full of joint health information with Dr. Andy Kaneps.

Happy Joint Health Awareness Month! Our friends at SmartPak have declared January the month to learn more about your horse’s joints and take steps to protect them for his long-term health — which is why they’re offering a ton of informative articles and videos, plus huge savings on a wide array of joint supplements. Check out the SmartPak website for more information!

In that spirit, the latest Ask the Vet video features world-renowned equine joint health expert Dr. Andy Kaneps, answering fan-submitted joint health questions with SmartPaker Dan. From senior horses to those in light work to everything in between, there’s a ton of information in this video for anyone with questions about their horse’s joint health and performance. How often can you get to pick the brain of a joint health expert, anyway?

Also, SmartPaker Dan, we need to hang out more. “I’m a little bit of a hypochondriac, so if I think there’s a problem, I look for the problem… so sometimes I need someone to tell me I’m overthinking it.”

Questions answered in this episode:

1. My horse is getting older (15) and stiffer in his hocks and stifles. He is currently getting a SmartPak for joints as well as the Devil’s Claw Plus for anti-inflammatory. A lot of people, not experts, have told me that he will benefit from joint injections. While I agree that it may help him move better, I am hesitant about the cost/benefit ratio. My horse is mainly turned out in a dry lot pasture, ridden lightly in the arena or out on easy trails, 1 to 3 days per week. Is the cost of joint injections going to be practical for his workload? Is there anything else I can add to his routine that may help, but be less costly? Just looking for your two cents.

2. I was wondering if all horses can get swollen joints after exercise or if it’s just Thoroughbreds. If so, is there any way to treat it other than cold packs and ice for horses that hate it, like mine? I’ve got a cob on light work that does a little galloping every second day or so but gets swollen fetlocks. Is this normal? If not, what should I do?

3. I ride an older horse (20) and he loves to jump still. He will jump the wood logs on the property sometimes. Are there any ways to keep his joints and bones in good condition, like a supplement or liniment? Since he is older, I worry he might pull something. We don’t jump higher than 3 feet.

4. My 17-year-old Oldenburg gelding used to be a high-level hunter horse in his younger days (before I knew him). From mid-2016 to mid-2017, he was leased out by his owners and received horrific farrier work, where he had 3-degree front wedges on with no apparent purpose or need for them. When he came to my barn, he was about 10 percent sound. He is a million times better now and is perfectly suitable for my riding (very minimal, low jumping on good days), but he still has a little bit of pain in his right front on and off and comes out stiff some days. He has stifle issues as well, apparently due to compensating for the pain in his fronts. He is on previcox and methocarbamol, which work extremely well for him, as well as some joint and overall health supplements. My question is this: Do you have any suggestions on how to improve quality of life of semi-retired sport horses with chronic osteoarthritis? I have read a lot about high dose omega-3, for example, with the EPA and DHA. Thanks so much!!!!

5. My horse is an 11-year-old off the track Thoroughbred who has issues with his sacroiliac (SI) joint and an old injury in his left stifle. We are working to build his muscles and topline for strength and take the time to properly warm him up. What are some good exercises or healthy practices to help make him more comfortable during work? BONUS QUESTION!: What’s the difference between joint injections done in the muscle/vein and joint injections in the joint? What types of issues are better treated with what injection sites?

Have your own horse health questions to submit for next month? Tag your question on social media with #AskTheVetVideo. Bonus: if your question is selected for a future video, you’ll win a SmartPak gift card!

Go riding.

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