Stifle Injuries Could Spell Trouble for Western Horses

Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by Allison Price

Arthroscopy is often required to diagnose and treat injuries to the stifle. It involves inserting an endoscope through small incisions. According to research, arthroscopy is a useful adjunct for radiographs or ultrasonography in some instances. However, it can sometimes be debilitating for Western performance horses.

Due to their profession, Western performance horses often sustain stifle injury. This is due to the abrupt turns, stops and crouching in the hind legs. These injuries are often complex and involve bone, cartilage and soft tissues like ligaments and tendon,” said Catherine Whitehouse M.S., a Kentucky Equine Research nutrition adviser.

Stifle Injuries

Generally, the goal after surgery is to return to athleticism. However, recent data shows that this goal may not be possible for many Western performance horses. According to this study, half of the horses that were treated with stifle arthritis returned to their original use.

This poor outcome can be attributed to several factors: age of horse (older horses are less likely to recover from soundness), longer periods of lameness, and cartilage damage.

“All horses that compete in athletics experience some joint trauma. While not all injuries can avoid , severe damage to the delicate layer articular cartilage can often be reduced with high-quality joint supplementation,” Whitehouse advised.

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!