The Use of Steroids for Arthritis in Horses
The most effective treatment for reducing lameness and swelling in horses due to acute exacerbations of inflammation with chronic arthritis (also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease) is intra-articular corticosteroid. It is also one of the most controversial. To understand this controversy you have to consider two aspects of the treatment of arthritis: treatments that modify the clinical signs (pain and lameness) and those that modify the disease process (degeneration of the joint).
It seems logical that any treatment that reduces pain is likely to also slow down the disease process but this is not always true. Back in the 60's it was noted that equine joints that were repeatedly injected developed advanced stages of DJD faster than those not injected. Since that time we have learned that the particular steroid and the way it is used may not only prevent the problem of steroid induced arthopathy but may also slow down the progress of the arthritis. This article discusses the pros and cons of the commonly available glucocorticoids and recommendations for their use.
~Word Count: 1369 words (The average magazine page contains about 600 words);
~Last Updated: July 10, 2015;
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