Every year I have a number of young thoroughbreds whose ankles start bugging them. They get
round in shape, they get a mild to moderate joint effusion and generally are not lame or sore to
flexion. Yet they are tough to handle. Old school would be ice, poultice, and maybe a blister with
some time off. And this works sometimes, and not other times. Getting to a firmer surface
seems to help some. Typical anti-arthritics such as bute, polyglycan, adequan may or may not
help some. But usually they are just tough to deal with.
Obviously, intra-articular meds have the greatest effect; but usually for a limited time. In the past
we started with corticosteroids such as depo and vetalog. Short acting very effective antiimflammatories.
But unfortunately shown to degrade cartilage over time. Then comes hyaluronic
acid; a quite effective joint anti-inflammatory. Costly and short acting. Enter adequan,
polyglycan, PRP, the first “IRAP”. Tried them all. Costly, short lasting. Then comes “Prostride”;
an upgraded “IRAP” that has been shown to work for a year, doesn’t need to be incubated, and
can be centrifuged and inject right at the barn same day. Still somewhat expensive. But maybe
for these “soft” ankles it seems to be quite effective. And lasts a long time.
I’ve done maybe a dozen of them now and the results are note worthy. These horse’s ankles are
getting tight and staying tight. I would definitely try it on my own horse since my other
endeavors have been so poor.
BTW, IRAP is a weird modern age medication which produces an anti-inflammatory protein which
binds the receptor site in the joint where the inflammatory proteins normally attach. So the
inflammatory cycle is blocked.
Anyway, something to think about. Also, don’t forget one of our most effective anti-inflammatory
medications is right under our nose: phenylbutazone. And not every horses GI tract is going to
go crazy using it. Just a suggestion. Some people use the type that doesn’t bother the GI tract,
July 3, 2018
H.O. Ferguson, DVM