If you have a horse as a pet, you probably have heard of physitis, one of the most common development diseases among young horses. The disease primarily affects the bones of your growing horse.
Swelling around the growth plates of your horse’s long legs is one of your first indications of the health condition. When left untreated for long, the condition can cause stiffness in the joints, pain, and even lameness.
Joint supplements for horses could help treat or at least mitigate the effects of physitis. However, if your young horse is suffering from any such conditions, it is better to know more about physitis.
What Is Physitis?
Physitis, formerly known as epiphysitis, is among many developmental orthopedic diseases or DODs that can affect horses in their growing stages. The condition is characterized by extensive inflammation in the growth plates, which are the areas in bones where new growth occurs. The condition has often been related to abnormal bone growth and development among young horses.
In most cases, physitis will impact the tibia, radius, cannon bones, and the long pastern bone, also known as the first phalanx. There have also been cases where physitis have impacted all four limbs of horses.
Common Symptoms Of Physitis
As you already know, the very first symptom of physitis is generally a warm and swollen area right above the fetlock, knee, or hock. In most cases, the horse will feel and evidently show signs of pain when touched in the affected area.
However, there are many other symptoms of physitis that include boxy or enlarged joints, change in the horse’s behavior, flared keens, lameness, discomfort caused by pain, and even altered movement or stiffness around the limbs or joints.
What Causes Physitis?
There can be many causes behind developing physitis in a growing horse. However, some of the most well-known causes include conformational defects, malnutrition, obesity, excessive exercising, infection, and endocrine disorders.
This means there are many other factors that work together to fuel the growth of physitis in horses.
In addition, It can happen in two different ways, where the first is localized and occurs in any particular growth plate. The second is the generalized physitis that can happen in more than one growth plate. Infection or trauma is generally blamed for localized physitis. In contrast, generalized physitis can cause ineffective nutrition or exercise, putting extensive stress on the growth plates of the horse.
How Does Physitis Develop?
The skeleton of a foul is made of a connective tissue called cartilage when developing in the uterus. However, the cartilage is eventually replaced by the bone as the fetus matures with time. This process is called endochondral ossification.
Most of the cartilage is already replaced when the foul is born except for the ones in the growth plates. The cartilage remains there as these bones need to grow in length as the horse begins to mature.
The growth plate is located between the epiphysis and metaphysis in young horses who are still growing. Hence any disruption in the growth of the long bones can result in inflammation around the growth plates. This generally starts to take shape when there is a quick increase in body size and an increased level of activities. This consequently results in stressing the growth plates, which ultimately results in physitis.
How Can Physitis Be Treated?
In mild cases, the horses will heal themselves with some good energy supplements for horses. However, the horse might need some therapeutic treatment to heal the bones effectively in many severe cases. Therefore, in case your horse is suffering from It, take this opportunity to review the exercise and nutrition program.
If you find something wrong with the program, it is best to make the necessary changes at the earliest. Nonetheless, if the condition keeps on worsening further, you must consult a trusted veterinarian and take the necessary measures to heal the horse.
This is more or less all you need to know if your growing or young horse is suffering from It. It is always best if you avail of appropriate treatment at the earliest because leaving this condition as it is can only mean more pain and agony for the horse. Therefore, refer to a trusted vet to get the necessary horse supplements and medications to treat physitis.