Muscle Strain and Soreness Average Cost

From 323 quotes ranging from $1,000 - 8,000

Average Cost

$4,000

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What are Muscle Strain and Soreness?

Strains that cause soreness can happen to a muscle, or a group of muscles, in various locations of the body. Often, an accident or strenuous exercise can damage leg, adductor or groin muscles, while a badly fitted saddle can affect back muscles. While some symptoms are mild, others can be as severe as trembling when faced with a painful situation, or lameness.

A muscle strain is often due to an injury or an overworked muscle that can swell, tear, and become a source of pain. Often, performance issues, or a reluctance to be ridden or exercised, are clear signs that your horse is experiencing discomfort and needs attention. Noticing subtle changes in your horse’s behavior can help to diagnose a muscle strain early, and prevent further damage.

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Symptoms of Muscle Strain and Soreness in Horses

Signs of a muscle strain involve pain and changes in attitude or performance, and can vary depending on which muscles are affected. Symptoms can include:

  • Poor or altered performance
  • Discomfort
  • Pain upon palpation
  • Swelling
  • Lameness
  • Tender areas
  • Lump or gap in muscle
  • Muscle tightness
  • Muscle spasm
  • Loss of condition
  • Weakness
  • Trembling
  • Attitude changes
  • Lacerations or bruises 
  • Dragging hind feet
  • Forceful tail movements
  • Stiff tail
  • Grinding teeth
  • Jumping refusals or changes
  • Changes in gait
  • Poor gait
  • Abnormal back and pelvis movements
  • Abnormalities under the saddle
  • Shorter strides
  • Refusal to be mounted
  • Sinking when mounted or saddled
  • Reluctance to canter or trot
  • Elevated breathing rate
  • Sweating
  • Reluctance to move

Types

Muscle strain can be divided into four categories.

  • Traumatic injuries – These kinds of muscle injuries occur from a direct impact, and can include accidents such as running into another horse, hitting rails during a race or while jumping, or falling down; injection site myopathy is also considered a traumatic injury, and involves a vaccine or intramuscular injection that causes the injection site to swell
  • Performance and stress injuries – These occur through overuse of a muscle, or group of muscles, and include back pain, isolated muscle strain, and chronic strains
  • Exertional rhabdomyolysis – Also referred to as tying-up, it is the breakdown of muscle cells due to exercise
  • Muscle wasting – This is a secondary condition of the loss of muscle mass caused by an illness or disease. Some diseases that can result in muscle wasting include Cushing's disease, equine degenerative myelopathy, and equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, as well as conditions of the liver, kidney, or gastrointestinal tract; nerve damage can also be a factor

Causes of Muscle Strain and Soreness in Horses

Causes of sore muscles in horses include:

  • Injury or damage to muscles
  • Accidents causing direct impact to horse
  • Overuse of muscle or muscle group
  • Repetitive or strenuous exercise or movement
  • Ridden exercise
  • Tack or saddle that does not fit properly
  • Poor condition
  • Fatigue
  • Poorly executed jumping
  • Chronic leg lameness
  • Damage caused by an uneven rider
  • Injection site myopathy
  • Sports activities
  • Kissing spines, or the rubbing together of vertebrae
  • Illness or disease causing secondary muscle damage

Diagnosis of Muscle Strain and Soreness in Horses

Diagnosis of muscle strain in horses can be complicated, due to the fact that many of its symptoms are similar to other conditions. Also, some muscles, such as the groin or adductor muscles, are difficult to isolate in a diagnosis. Your veterinarian will need a complete history, including any injuries or symptoms you have seen. A complete physical exam will include palpating different muscle groups to look for areas of pain, assessing muscle symmetry, and evaluating the range of motion of the legs and neck. Your horse may be observed walking, trotting, jumping, or performing certain movements. A lameness exam may also be used to rule out other diseases.

Blood and serum testing can check for muscle enzyme levels, and help to rule out other conditions. Various imaging techniques are used to locate injuries and muscle issues, as well as to see the extent of the damage in order to create an appropriate treatment plan. These can include nuclear scintigraphy, or a bone scan, X-rays, ultrasounds, and thermography. An adductor stress test can be performed to further locate specific muscle injuries. Further testing may be needed if a primary disease or illness is suspected to be causing the muscle strain.

Treatment of Muscle Strain and Soreness in Horses

The goal of treatment for muscle strains and soreness attempts to relieve the pain and provide therapies that can help your horse heal, and will depend on the severity of your horse’s condition. Most muscle injuries are treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories to relieve pain, and alternating cold and hot compresses on injured muscles. In cases of trauma, wounds are treated appropriately. Muscle relaxants can also be effective to relieve pain, as well as local anti-inflammatory injections. Some alternative therapies that may be suggested include massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustment, magnetic blankets, or extracorporeal shock wave therapy.

Next, box rest is often prescribed for several weeks, along with physiotherapy. This consists of a gradually increasing exercise plan that needs to be monitored by your veterinarian, as a return to activity too soon can cause a re-injury. Ultrasonography can be used to assess your horse’s progress during treatment. 

If your horse suffers from back pain, the saddle fit may be evaluated and adjusted. Surgical treatment may be recommended in some cases, such as with kissing spines. Any underlying condition needs to be addressed and will be treated appropriately.

Recovery of Muscle Strain and Soreness in Horses

Recovery in cases of mild to moderate muscle strains is good, while severe cases can take longer to heal and may result in muscle scarring. Your veterinarian may send home pain medications, and a treatment plan for rest and exercise. A visit for an ultrasound to check on your horse’s progress may be scheduled in 3 months.

Prevent muscle injuries with regular exercise, a properly fitting saddle, sitting balanced when riding, keeping your horse healthy with a consistent feeding program, and avoid performance demands that are beyond your horse’s abilities.

Muscle Strain and Soreness Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Jewel
Paint
18 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Tripping
Turns in wide circles
Doesn’t like being caught
Front Soreness

Medication Used

Bute-Less
Bigeloil

How would one go about helping front soreness in a mare? I’ve been giving her bute-less which helps for a little while and I have many creams I apply almost daily because I’m worried about her. She’s only 18. If she gets too sore she won’t move at all.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
The treatment for Jewel depends on the reason for her soreness, and without seeing her, I have a hard time determine what that might be. It would be a good idea to have her examined by your veterinarian to see what might be going on, if she needs x-rays, or what treatment might help her.

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Capri
Appendix
26 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Limping
Muscle Tremors
restlessness
Dragging leg

Medication Used

Equioxx

We have suspicion that my mare fell trying to run with the younger horses in the pasture and slipped on the wet mud. Originally we thought she dislocated the shoulder but it’s starting to look more like a strained or pulled muscle in the right front shoulder. She’s standing on it now but cannot walk correctly she drags the hoof around and lips on the leg. The muscle now has spasms when she locks the knee into place to stand on it. I was recommended 2 weeks stall rest and if it doesn’t show improvement then euthanasia is the only option. Just wanting more opinions. Thank you for your time.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Without examining Capri I cannot really weigh in on this condition but if the tow is dragging it may be a brachial plexus or radial nerve injury (check the Fig. 8 in the link) but I cannot tell for certain; stall rest is best but it really it a waiting game to see if there are any signs of improvement which may take months or may not occur at all. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.gutenberg.org/files/16370/16370-h/16370-h.htm#Radial_Paralysis

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Honey
Arabian x Quarter Horse
8 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

sore, hot spots, stiff

What else can I do to prevent my mare from becoming sore? I am riding currently about 4-5 times a week. she has been a bit sore and stiff with some hot spots on her legs. Whenever I go out to her I cold hose her legs and put rapigel on them after I ride or exercise her. She isn't on any feed or hay, just her paddock. She is a little overweight so we have her in a small paddock. So, am I doing enough or do i need to use ice or something to help her? She gets regular hoof trims but our farrier was busy so we got someone else last time and they didn't do a great job so her hooves are a little funny. Could this be part of the problem? We are going back to our regular farrier.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
A bad hoof trim can cause many problems, and that may be causing hers. If so, it would be best to minimize exercise for her until her hooves have grown back and are re-trimmed. If the problem has been going on longer than that, it would be best to have her seen by your veterinarian to assess any abnormalities that may be causing problems for her.

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Mazeyyd
Thoroughbred
9 Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

horse tries to exit the arena once ridden and doesnt obey. commands. back legs are sensitive when i press above his hoof. horse was not being ridden for a year and recently i started riding for around 45 minutes twice a day. would that cause soreness. i am not sure how to identify if leg is swelling as it is not obvious. he walks, troats and canters.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. WIthout examining Mazeyyd, I can't really comment on what might be causing the soreness. It would be best to have him examined by a veterinarian, as they can look at him, assess his conformation, and take x-rays if needed. They will be able to diagnose what is going on with him and recommend any possible treatments.

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Jess
Welsh Cob
9 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Stiffness

My mare jumped the field gate and now has gone very stiff in her back end, she has been ok to ride but when I asked for canter she bucked? I tried to ride the other day and when asked her to trot she reared on me? She hasn’t been in much work lately due to our school been flooded, what if the best thing for me to do? She is stiff but not lame and is fine in her self?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without examining Jess, I am not sure what might be causing her stiffness. It would be best to have your veterinarian examine her and see what is causing her signs, and if there is any treatment that needs to be given. I hope that she is okay.

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Lefty
Quarter
15 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

My horse pulled back and when're rope snapped fell to his butt then flipped over. He got up immediately sore and groaning. It's been two weeks he's had some chiro work, but still seems uncomfortable, stiff and still is groaning a bit. I've walked him out just three times. Should I be riding him to keep him supple or give him stall rest.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
I wouldn’t keep riding him for the time being, but stall rest with regular walks and restricted walks as you are doing may help; your Chiropractor would be able to give you a better indication as they would have examined Lefty and know specifically what's affected, after rest, gentle reintroduction to exercise should be done. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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smart little tenio
AQHA
3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

off on the right back hind

Hello ,
My 3 year old Quater horse gunner filly was running in the down hill paster and i notice she was off on her right hind . I check both hips and under neath she is extremely tender . It feels like a pulled muscle .
My question is should i stall rest her and hand walk her every day or just turn her out in the flat indoor arena . should i put her on bute or pervicox and how much . She is stiffer when coming out of the stall in the morning and then it tends to move more normal although when eating hay she takes weight off that leg.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Unfortunately, without examing your horse, or seeing her, it would be irresponsible to comment on what might be goign on with her. If she isn't improving, it would be best to have her examined by your veterinarian, as they can look at her, assess her gait and lameness, and determine the best course of therapy for her. I hope that all goes well for her.

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Pony
Quarter Horse
16 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Ventral edema

Horse fell in stall. Seemed ok. But later when I brought him in he wouldn't move. Very slow and right walks dragging rear right toe. Thigh very swollen. Also can't back up on that same leg, he slides it in a backward letter c and won't pick it up. Ventral edema present. Going on 3 week with no improvement. Very quiet, not like him at all, he is usually a clown

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Without examining him I cannot say specifically which course of action should be taken or which structures are affected; if you haven’t done already you should call out your Veterinarian for an examination, flexion tests etc… to determine an appropriate management plan. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Cinnamon
American Quarter horse
15 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Lame in her back leg

Medication Used

Bute

Hello, my horses name is cinnamon. In November/ December she was in a pasture at her barn and did not want to be caught. She reared up and afterwards was favoring her back left leg. It had heat so we got a vet out. Long story short after xrays, it's a strained muscle, she's 15, and after a few months we started to ride again. I noticed it's not getting better, so we put a hault to all riding, and will be talking to our vet. He said it can take from 2 to 9 months. My question is, is it possoble I caused permanent damage?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
There is always a risk of causing permanent damage to a lame horse if you’re riding it, recovery times should be respected with moderate lead rope walking and restricted movements (unless advised differently by your Veterinarian). You should either call your Veterinarian out or make the trip to visit them to determine the extent of the injury. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Hi
My 6 year old has had an on and off bad back. We changed his saddle and it drastically improved but I ran a comb down his spine and he showed a lot if discomfort on the bucking spot on his left side and he has also been tense and unhappy to ride and will not bend or relax. We have had it checked by a vet ad they say it’s a stiff sore muscle. I have given him 2 weeks off. What do you suggest doing now? Does he need more time?

My horse is a 9 year old paint. He has been limping for a few weeks now. He shows no signs of having any pain but will limp badly. There is no heat and no swelling. I ride him around in a circle for about 30 minutes walking and trotting. He isn't getting anybetter. Can I take him trail riding. He only limps when trotting. We have been loping for a while lately and that's why I think it might be a pulled muscle. Someone please help.

So for a while I was always loping my horse around through fields. One morning before a horse show I warmed him up loping him through an old harvested cornfield. When we went to the horse show I had him walk/trot/lope in the arena and after we got out he started limping. I tired him to the trailer and it looked like he had swelling. Later I checked on him at the end of the horse show and the swelling had already gone down. It has been a few weeks and he is still limping. I always clean his feet and put ligament gel on his leg and walk and trot him out 1 a day. It seems like nothing it working. My mom thinks it's because he stepped on a corn stalk wrong but he never tripped pr slowed down in the cornfield. I am not sure what I should do and what is causing him to keep limping. If someone could please tell me what to do. Mom doesn't want to spend money to take him to the vet.

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Billy
Warmblood
6 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Lameness

I had my big 17.2hh gelding seen Robby abbey today, due to unknown mild lameness. Turns out he has strained his muscle (at the point of shoulder). He had a mad 5mins play around the paddock and seems to be now stiff in that area until he walks out of it. I have him on 800g of rolled oats daily, would this have an effect on his muscles at all? Should I avoid feeding a high energy feed? He's currently had 2 wks off any work and having a further weeks off.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations

Horses shouldn’t be kept on a high energy feed whilst not at work; working horses used to get Monday Morning Disease (Equine Exertional Rhabdomyolysis) when they had a break during the weekend but continued to be on a high carbohydrate diet which lead to muscle damage (and kidney damage). I would cut down his energy content in feed until he is ready to start activity again. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Micky Blue Eyes
Paint
10 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

My horse is tender to the touch over his Triceps Brachii Muscle and Latissimus Dorsi muscle. Ruled out hoof and front leg problems no inflammation, heat or soreness in joints. Is in work (is an endurance horse) covering 18kms every second day at just 11km/hr steady over relatively rolling terrain. Was hooning around paddock a week ago and I noticed when he cooled down he was lame. Someone told me regular exercise will help so have kept him in work. Would like your suggestions on pain relief and exercise plan. At rest he will stand with knee bent on the sore side.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
Your description is consistent with triceps brachii and latissimus dorsi muscle issues; I do not agree with exercising Mickey Blue Eyes at this time - strict stall rest, gentle forelimb stretches , massage and pain management will help. I am unable to recommend or prescribe prescription products as I haven’t examined him, I would suggest speaking with an Equine Physiotherapist to help with recovery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Gilbert
Arabian
13 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

SORENESS

My 13 year old gelding has recently started giving me attitude while riding him. Walks and trots beautifully, but now he doesn't like to canter on his left lead (it has never been a problem before). I let him rest for 1 1/2 weeks thinking he was sore from working him. I noticed yesterday when I was lunging him that he seems to be keeping his back legs close to each other, and every time he would canter on the left lead he would only do so for maybe 4 strides then switch to his right then start cross centering. I'm so confused and worried he may have an issue with his back end. Any ideas that could be causing this would be greatly appreciated.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
With these types of orthopaedic issues, it is difficult to say what the specific cause is without personally examining the horse; it would be best to call out your Veterinarian for a thorough examination and observation walking, trotting etc… as they will be able to give you a better idea. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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DaVinci
Thoroughbred
4 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Limping

I have a 4 year old ex-race horse thoroughbred. We don't do heavy work because he is still pretty green. About 3 months ago after an hour lesson he seemed to be limping. In the lesson we were just doing light jumping work and so my trainer said it was probably just a "twisted ankle" he also plays very hard in the pasture so that could be an affect as well. We let him rest for the week and the next week we looked and it was still sore. no swelling, heat or anything. Just lightly limping. He will canter, jump, and everything. We gave him around 2 months of no riding and then after that he still walks with a slight limp. He trots and canters perfectly fine. I just am wondering if I should do anything to it to help or what it could be? I don't want to hurt it more but with light riding every week it doesn't seem to get worse. I am riding him now lightly like I said and he seems like himself with no signs of pain, just a light limp.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
With the extended time frame that DaVinci has been limping, and not dramatically improving, it may be worth having a veterinarian examine him, and possibly take x-rays. They will be able to give you a better idea as to what might be happening once they have examined him.

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Bert
Standardbred
9 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Pain
grumpiness
tenderness
Unwilling to ride forward

17hh standardbred 9 yrs old.

Only ridden in last 10 months.
Previous suspected ulcers, put on ulcer diet, improved 80%.

Had physio, she used laser on his withers, next day football size swelling where laser had been used.

Got different physio, suggested x ray, x rays showed vertebrae in very good condition. 3x physio sessions improving each time. Horse still biting/kicking on dismount both sides, fine on mounting.

Saddle checked, ok but bought newer softer saddle. Still same on dismount.

Today applied pressure down withers - Ok. Applied pressure on latissimus dorsi, very tender especially on near side, biting/tail swishing. Applied pressure around chestbone/shoulder very tender, stretches front leg, picks leg up, measure worse than offside.

He has had a month on box rest due to weather and water logged fields, has had 2 weeks turn out for 2 hours a day, no work.

What can I do to help him? What could it be? How can I exclude possibilities?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
After a month of rest we would expect to see some improvement, also it is strange that the dismount is an issue since more pressure is applied during mounting; at this point I would get your Veterinarian involved for a hands on examination and to watch him walk and trot to try to narrow in on the specific cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Ben
Quarter Horse
11 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Stiffness, grunting

Medication Used

Banamine

I have a 11yr old gelding, approx 10 days ago he started to grunt and moan and show signs of slight stiffness in all legs. I waited to see if he got any better, he didnt. So i took him to the local vet and he did every possible test on him, blood included and everything was normal; heartrate, breathing, blood, stool, everything. so he said it may have been slight tying up. So he prescribed Banamine for 4 days, and mineral supplement. Unfortunatly he has not gotten better , he has become worse. Now he is very stiff and he now flicks his front feet out to walk and he is losing weight. No pain meds help him, he grunts in pain and is very stiff. He is still eating, drinking and everything else normal. His head isnt low, eyes look good. I am totally lost as to what this could be.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
If Ben is not responding to the medications prescribed the way that your veterinarian was expecting, it would be best to follow up with him, as he is aware of Ben's physical condition and is able to examine him. He may need further testing, or treatment, to resolve what is going on with him, and unfortunately, without seeing him, I cannot really comment on what might be going on with him. I hope that his problems resolve.

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Bella
American Quarter
9 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Stiffness

My horse slipped on ice about a week ago and is still acting quite stiff in her right hind. She can walk and trot but when she canters she holds that leg up and doesnt use it.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1607 Recommendations
Bella may need to be seen by your veterinarian. I cannot examine her or determine what might be going on with her, and she may have had an injury when she fell that needs treatment.

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Mocha
Horse
10 Years
Moderate
Has Symptoms
Lame Trot
He was running around the paddock had s few stumbles as the ground wasn't completely even and then had to pull up quickly due to fence and he isn't very agile. 20 mins later was limping around keeping his leg very straight. Was in confinement for a week later a lot better. It's been 7 weeks and he's a lot better but still slightly off, worse on circles and down hill. Had a massage lady out he's really tight in Lower half of neck, shoulder and chest. Thinking of getting the vet out now as he hasn't fully improved. No swelling or heat, slight muscle wastage tricep brachi