04 September 2008 11:47
I have an 11-year-old, 16.1hh, ID x TB. He has recently been diagnosed with arthritis in the coffin joints of both front feet. He also suffers from sidebone and previously has had collateral ligament damage in his feet. He has been treated with an injection of steroid and hyluronate into the joint, but this wasn’t effective.
The vet has suggested a neurectomy, but I’ve heard that this has many negative effects and may not even work. How effective is this procedure? Are there any other options?
By Your Horse
Vet Malene Jørgensen says:
One of the recommended measures to treat arthritis and/or side bone in non-responsive cases is neurectomy,where you literally cut the sensation to the affected area. This means that the horse has no means of feeling pain and is thereby unable to protect its foot from over-straining. Injuries to the area, including self-trauma, can result, and in severe cases can even lead to pathological fractures.
Performed correctly, a neurectomy can keep the horse sound for months, or even years, providing you’re aware of the risks involved and make efforts not to over-strain the horse. However, in some cases the nerve can reunite, usually within two years after the operation.
Arthritis and side bone are chronic diseases. However, there are several options for treatment to try to prevent long-term symptoms, including injection of medication into the joint, squared or rolled toe or egg-bar shoes, supplements containing glucosamine and other joint support components including MSM. Acupuncture may also be used to help control the pain and aid the healing process, while homeopathic treatments for joint problems include arnica, rhus-tox, ruta and symphytum.