Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Joint Injections

I could feel it was time to lube up Kylie's joints. She missed a lead change the other day, which is extremely rare and her stride has been feeling a bit more choppy than normal. It has also been quite some time since her last injections. Horses with coffin-joint inflammation may show soft swelling above the coronary band, which you could definitely see on Kylie. This is caused by increased fluid in the joint capsule.

Reasons for injecting a joint: Joints that have experienced wear and tear can be injected with a variety of medications to restore synovial lubrication which help them heal and and remain flexible. This can prolong the usefulness of the horse. Injections stimulate cartilage repair. The health of the cartilage determines the health of the joint. Injections stop or slow the disease cycle by inhibiting harmful enzymes from attacking synovial fluid. They also relieve pain caused by inflammation and swelling and restore the natural wear and repair cycle. I know there are risk, but for Kylie the benefits out weigh the risks.

The hock is comprised of four joints, of which three are low-motion. The upper joint, or tibiotarsal, is high-motion because this is where flexion and extension occur. The three lower joints-the proximal intertarsal, distal intertarsal, and tarsometatarsal-move very little.Coffin joint - The joint at the level of the coronary band on the horse.

Acting similarly to the grease around ball bearings, joints are lubricated via synovial fluid. It is normally clear, pale yellow and viscous; in the face of joint damage it tends to loose viscosity—it becomes watery and is not as efficient. This synovial fluid is crucial to healthy joints, because it lubricates the joint’s soft tissue and provides nourishment to the cartilage, which does not have a blood supply of its own. This is also why damaged cartilage often does not heal well. Kylie's fluid was very watery in the joints that did have liquid. One hock joint was bone dry which has not happened with her before and it is not particularly a good thing. She has the classic wear and tear type of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease or DJD, is one of the leading causes of lameness in horses. When a joint is subjected to repeated stress or trauma, such as can occur with everyday riding, training, or racing, it often leads to damage of the synovial membrane and joint capsule. At this point, lameness is not always present. However, as the damage worsens, the horse becomes lame and the joint becomes hot and swollen. The damage to the tissue allows white blood cells to escape nearby blood vessels and invade the joint space.

These white blood cells then release destructive substances which start to degrade the joint’s cartilage. Enzymes from the white blood cells also begin to break down the hyaluronic acid molecules. This results in synovial fluid that is thin and watery, and has poor cushioning and nourishing qualities. If left untreated, the joint damage progresses to arthritis and, eventually, degenerative joint disease that can become crippling.

Kylie was injected with a combination of Depo-Medrol (anti-inflammatory glucocorticoid for intramuscular, intra-articular, soft tissue or intralesional injection), Hyvisc (hyaluronate Sodium), and Amikacin (antibiotic). She gets to walk 30 minutes a day for the next 4-5 days while the injections do thier magic. I am sure she will feel a whole lot more comfortable now.


storybeader said...

poor girl! hope she feel better - the shots are probably no fun... {:-D

Stephanie said...

I bet she will be much more comfortable and happy in a couple of days!

Desert Rose said...

Glad she gets to feel better soon!

Julia said...

It still amazes me just how much Kylie and Moe look alike. They could be twins.

I was looking for your email but couldn't find it - I know you love beautiful barns - check out this website:

Grey Horse Matters said...

I hope the shots help her. They have helped some of my horses to be more comfortable.

Five O'Clock Somewhere said...

Thanks Julia for the link. Beautiful photography of majestic stables!

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