Arthritis and Horses
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Arthritis is a painful culprit no matter what the species and the body systems, for the most part, are the same. Arthritis is a nonspecific term meaning inflammation of a joint. There are many kinds of Arthritis in horses, traumatic arthritis, osteochondritis dissecans, subchondral cystic lesions, septic (or infective), and osteoarthritis (also called degenerative joint disease (DJD) (1) to name a few.
All types of arthritis create pain and some are far worse than others creating a horse to be lame. The pain can be Chronic (persisting for a long time or constantly recurring (2)) or Acute (at present time (3)) Depending on arthritis the damage can be so severe it causes ligament tears, swelling (inflammation), and fractures in more severe cases
Arthritis can happen when there has been an injury and it creates the joint to be compromised or when there is constant wear and tear over years of work. When a horse is young just like us we seem to be invincible and the body's systems function is healthy, but as the body ages our invincible times catch up with us and our systems do not function as well as they did due to the nature of degeneration (getting old). So let’s look at it more in-depth to give a better understanding of the body systems and how they play a part. Hang in there with me my science nerd is going to come out and I will try to explain it so it’s easy to understand! There are many systems to the amazing complex body but I will give a shortened version of a few that I feel are some of the ones that are important factors involved with arthritis, like the Circulatory system, Lymphatic/ Immune System, the Nervous System, and the Muscular System and how they affect each other.
The Circulatory system as most of us know is our circulation of blood but what we don’t realize is that blood also carries red blood cells that have hemoglobin which contains iron, is known for carrying oxygen to the tissues specifically the lungs. Without that oxygen, the body would not get the nutrients and fluids to where they need to go. Oxygen is like the gas in our cars its energy. This energy helps the blood flow so the other systems will function well.
The Lymphatic system is the immune system. It consists of a fluid called lymph, this transfers through lymphatic vessels in the body to transport the lymph fluid to a number of structures and organs containing lymphatic tissue and red bone marrow, where stem cells develop into various types of blood cells that help circulate fluids to the body to defend against disease(4). Stem cell therapy is some of the newest breakthrough medicine for regenerating tissues, fighting against arthritis and many other diseases. The body produces stem cells naturally within the immune system but with age and how the body is treated with proper nutrition, natural remedies and emotional health depends on how well the stem cells regenerate.
The Muscular system consists of bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Its job is to mostly support the body, give motion and protect the other organs. When an injury happens, the other body systems have to work very hard in repairing that area. When the systems are working properly healing happens fast and recovery is at its peak but when the systems are not working properly or exhausted due to age or constantly trying to repair that area over a long period of time it results in chronic pain because the circulatory didn’t have enough oxygen to send to the area which carried the nutrients to the pain site and the stem cells were not at their peak to regenerate tissue and the nervous system was so overwhelmed the messages from the brain were not getting there fast enough or became overwhelmed and got confused and we now have a big ball of inflammation.
The Nervous system is our brain for the brain. It consists of billions of neurons with long, interconnecting processes that form complex integrated electrochemical circuits (1). So basically it is the wires like in your car that sends the message to brain which allows the body to feel sensations (ouch that hurts), tells the circulatory system blood where to send the blood and oxygen, the lymphatic/immune system to produce fluid to make stem cells the muscular system to move like blinking our eyelids and to basically keep the computer going so the body can survive. Whew and that’s just a small part of the goes on in the body.
Now that I have your mind spinning your probably wondering how to you can prevent or help arthritis in any form. Of course, it is best to talk with your veterinarian doctor and ask them what natural ways you can help your horse/s. There are so many new studies coming out on herbal remedies and alternative therapies.
Using naturally grown hay and food sources, are they organic or naturally grown without harmful pesticides and fertilizers help. Use supplements from natural sources if possible and see if there are alternatives to harmful injections or surgery, like our CDB equine cookie. Some herbs we use in our herbal proprietary blend has shown to be good for stem cell regeneration and helps reduce inflammation on a noticeable scale. We have seen amazing results in horses using our product and many of the veterinarian doctors using them have seen great results as well.
One of the most important types of therapy is emotional therapy. Making sure your horse is not stressed, their Nervous System depends on it and horses run on emotions especially from their owners. Give them plenty of time to be in nature and be a horse and give them recovery time when they need it even though we want to be in that show or win that competition let them rest it is part of what the body needs to heal.