Switch to Main Site
Practice Name

Middletown Animal Hospital

Social Media
Primary Location
21503 S. State Highway 29
Middletown, CA 95461
Phone: 707-987-2000
Fax: 707-987-2082

Office Hours

Main Content

Joint Care for Horses

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of joints.  It is the breakdown of the cartilage that lines the bones of the joint.  Eventually, during end stage osteoarthritis, the cartilage is worn down to the point that actual bone material rubs together.  Osteoarthritis is painful and cannot be cured, but there are now a multitude of medications and treatments that we can use to help both alleviate pain and discomfort, and slowdown the degenerative process.

Non-steroidalanti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are potent analgesics that aid in alleviating pain for the horse.  The most common NSAID’s are phenylbutazone (“Bute”) and Banamine.  Another newer medication is firocoxib,also know as Equioxx or Previcox. The firocoxibs are beneficial because side effects, such as colonic ulcers, are less common than with Bute and Banamine.  There is one topical NSAID, called Surpass that you can rub over the affected joint(s).  It penetrates through the skin into the joint and locally relieves inflammation,also decreasing the side effects seen with the systemic medications.  NSAID’s are an important treatment for osteoarthritis, but they are best used in combination with chondroprotective medications (lubricants of joint) and other therapies.

Some chondro protectives are glucosamine and chondroitin supplements.  These are well-known with human arthritis, as well as small animals.  There are many oral joint supplements available for horses as well. However, the only one with much evidence of helping has Avacodo Soybean Unsoponifiables in it, such as Cosaquin ASU.  And even this oral supplement may not do enough.  A better medication is Adequan, aliquid glucosamine that you give as a series of injections into the muscle of the horse.  Adequan is a safe and effective anti-inflammatory, which can also provide more lubrication to the joints.  Another injectable solution that has been proven to slow down the denerative processes of the joint is Legend.  This must be given by a veterinarian intravenously as a series of injections.  Legend is hyaluronic acid, which is different from Adequan.  Ideally,both would be used together.

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is another effective tool to decrease lameness associated with osteoarthritis in horses. The ESWT devices generate a series of focused high-pressure sound waves that travel from the probe through the skin and soft tissue. When the waves meet tissue interfaces, the energy contained in the shock waves is released and interacts with the tissue, producing both mechanical and cellular effects.  In horses, it has shown to decrease inflammation within the joint and provide pain relief.  It is another treatment option to consider in combination with other medications and tools.

Intra-articular useof steroids are the most potent anti-inflammatories for osteoarthritis.  There are different types of steroids,some of which cause deleterious effects to the joint and others cause beneficial effects.  These steroids are commonly used in combination with the other treatments.  However, newer therapies have been used recently to try to actually help slow down the degenerative process and help heal defects within the joint.

These newer therapies for osteoarthritis are Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), Autologous Conditioned Serum(IRAP), and gene therapy.  They can be quite expensive, but have the benefit of making huge differences for the horse suffering from osteoarthritis. They are particularly beneficial to those equine athletes that may have a minor lesion that causes major consequences to their performance.

Equine osteoarthritis can ultimately cause devastation to the horse, including decreased performance and even euthanasia, if it gets bad enough.  It causes pain and discomfort to the horse.  The point of this article is to show horse owners that there are a multitude of options for their horse with osteoarthritis.  If one medication or treatment fails, there’s always another one.  It is also important to know that multimodal treatment is the best option.  Attacking this disease from many angles is better than focusing on one thing.

Exclusive Offer

Jan/Feb 2018 Special

$50 off dental cleaning for your  

  dog or cat. Call 987-2000 to

schedule your pet!


Featured Services

About Us - What makes us unique Are these things important to you?  Learn more about us! Make An Appointment We will do our best to meet your needs. Schedule an appointment today! Hospital Tour Click here to take a Virtual Tour of our state of the art hospital!


We are the only animal hospital in Lake County, CA to offer all of these benefits:  laser surgery, laser therapy, climate controlled boarding, separate cat reception, examination, and boarding areas, dental x-ray and dental suite, multi-modal pain management, physical therapy, underwater treadmill, shockwave therapy, PRP therapy, cryotherapy, digital thermal imaging, stance analyzer, tonopen for eye pressure, behavior services, house calls.....and much more.

Middletown Animal Hospital 707-987-2000
21503 S. State Highway 29 Middletown, CA 95461

Office Hours

Day Open Closed
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
9:00am 9:00am 9:00am 9:00am 9:00am 8:00am Closed
5:30pm 5:30pm 5:30pm 5:30pm 5:30pm 4:30pm Closed

No Module 5 for this skin



  • 21503 S. State Highway 29 Middletown, CA 95461
  • 707-987-2000
  • Get Directions

Newsletter Sign Up

Community Content