Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by Allison Price

Ringbone is a condition that causes lameness in horses’ coffin and pastern joints. Ringbone is a progressive degenerative condition that can get worse over time. However, the disease can be controlled with the right treatment and continued management.

Types Of Ringbone

Ringbone can cause an increase in the size of affected joints. Two types of ringbone exist: low ringbone affects coffin joints and high ringbone is more common. The pastern joint is affected by high ringbone. Ringbone is similar in nature to arthritis. It involves the growth of new bone and the gradual degeneration of the joint surface.

You can also identify which joint Ringbone affects by identifying the location of that part.

The lining (synovium), and cartilage of the joints are affected by articular ringbone. This can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling of the joint. These structures can cause inflammation, such as trauma, excessive strain or deep cuts. This can lead to the stimulation of bone growth in the joint.


Diagnosis for Ringbone

Lameness is one of the symptoms of ringbone. It can come and go. This typically occurs around 15 years old. It is possible for the tissues surrounding the joint to become tender or painful. The pain will eventually go away and the area will become cooler and more firm.

A history of the horse’s symptoms, and results of a lameness exam can help to diagnose the condition. The joint’s appearance and movement are checked. To provide a picture of the joint, X-rays can also be taken.

Treatment for Ringbone

There are many treatment options available for ringbone:

Rest. Ringbone will often continue to worsen if horses work at the same rate.
Weight management. Horses who are overweight can experience more stress on their feet, legs, and joints. This can lead to a worsening condition.
Medications. The type of medication used will depend on the stage of the condition. It may include phenylbutazone (“bute”), a joint injection with either hyaluronic or steroids.
Adjust your shoes. Good shoeing can sometimes reduce the pain of ringbone. This condition can also be worsened by poor shoeing.
Surgery. Surgery.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!