What is Thoroughpin?
Usually painless, thoroughpin is considered a minor problem as it usually doesn’t affect your horse’s activity. Often considered a blemish around the hock area, (especially if your horse is a show horse) it rarely causes lameness. There is no heat or inflammation involved and generally no treatment is required. But it is advisable to have your veterinarian diagnose your horse and confirm the condition and advise on reducing the swelling. This condition is similar to Bog spavin, Bone spavin, curb, and capped hock – all of these conditions can affect the important joint in the hind legs of your horse.
This condition is characterised by a swelling of the tendons in the hind legs. The swelling appears soft and fluid and is around the hock area.
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Symptoms of Thoroughpin in Horses
- This swelling can be moved around across the hollow above the hock; it is very soft and mobile
- It is usually on one leg but can affect both if it is skeletal deformity
- A soft lump will be noticed around the hock area
- The lump can vary in size
- Usually defined as a soft bulge above the hock, and considered more of a cosmetic problem than a health issue (especially if your horse is a show horse)
- Other conditions such as bog spavin which is similar in appearance but may cause arthritis
- Capped hock (kicks from another horse, or blows as your horse kicks its stall)
- Curb (enlargement of the plantar ligament at the back of the hock)
- Bone spavin which is a degenerative joint disease
Causes of Thoroughpin in Horses
- Strain caused from jumping, dressage or exercising your horse too hard for its level of fitness
- The swelling occurs within the tendon sheath around the deep digital flexor tendon
- This swelling affects the fluid filled joint sac and is caused by the strain
- Poor or weak hock formation are prone to this condition
- Often related to skeletal formation defects
Diagnosis of Thoroughpin in Horses
Apart from the visible swelling just above the hock, it is advisable to have your veterinary specialist give your horse a thorough examination. Thoroughpin can cause lameness in some cases, so it is wise to have it checked out. Your specialist may decide to use ultrasound or x-rays to determine what is happening within the joint and tendons around the hock. In doing so, he will be able to rule out other similar conditions which will allow him to suggest treatment for your horse.
Treatment of Thoroughpin in Horses
Treatment is usually not necessary for routine cases of thoroughpin. Usually, the swelling doesn’t affect your horse’s movement unless you are showing or racing the horse. Your veterinarian may suggest drainage of the excess fluid but that is mainly for appearances rather than health. This condition can be reoccurring and care taken with your horse may help prevent further episodes. Take training slowly and allow your horse to adjust to it. Don’t rush a young horse, let them develop at their own speed and build up that strength in their limbs.
Avoid over working your horse, especially as your horse gets older. And protect your horse from self-inflicting injuries with boots for trips to manage anxiety and kicking out. Usually, thoroughpin management is prevention, followed by care and observation to see how the condition is affecting your horse, and time allowed for healing. The prognosis is very good for this condition, as it doesn’t seem to affect your horse’s performance a great deal. But as with any concerns, it always pays to get a new lump check out to make sure it is harmless.
Recovery of Thoroughpin in Horses
Recovery is usually excellent, although the condition may be reoccurring. By observing your horse and picking up on any new health issues quickly, it is a lot easier to treat than ignoring it until it is serious. With thoroughpin, it requires no special treatment and it is how you handle the horse that makes a difference. Checking that your horse’s feet are trimmed properly, that the shoes fit perfectly, and breaking your horse into a new exercise regime slowly will all help to avoid this condition. Once it has the condition, hosing the leg may help, and allowing extra rest may help the swelling to go down. An important thing to consider when purchasing a horse is what you want it for. Get your veterinarian to check the legs of any new horse you are considering purchasing to ensure your new horse is fit for the task you want him to perform.