Dancer was diagnosed with advanced ringbone in her right pastern joint in the summer of 2010.
I knew something wasn’t right, I had been aware of it for a little while, but each time I tried to show someone her very slightly shortened stride on her right fore when moving on the right rein, they just couldnt see it! It was absolutely miniscule; just a very, very slight shortnening of the arc of her stride as her right fore came forward.
So I then began to question myself! Was I seeing things?
Deep down I knew I wasn’t imagining it and that slight shortening of stride was definately there. I had put it down to her balance since when her spine was correctly balanced, bent evenly and moving in the correct biomechanics, it didnt show up, but as soon as she lost that balance, there it was again – albeit ever so slightly.
A few weeks later, she trotted over to me in the field and coupled with the hard, uneven ground, I realised I needed to find out what was going on. I called in my super vet, Dr Andre Buthe, and the eventual diagnosis turned out to be advanced degenerative joint disease (ringbone).
I researched all the different treatment options for quite some time before deciding eventually that I didn’t want to go down the route of injecting into the joint. So I opted for some systemic treatment (intra-venous and intra-musclular) and I then turned to looking at her foot balance, trim and diet as ways of managing it for her.
This is where the Slow Motion Video came into its own. Stef Watts of Your4Legs offers an Equine Gaite Analysis service, part of which includes the ability to look at foot placement from both in front and behind. Through using this fabulous technology and the resulting videos (a couple of which are shown below), we were able to really assess exactly how she places and loads each foot.
This has since enabled my wonderful trimmer, Antonio Checha, to alter her trim and therefore her foot balance. This combined with a much closer look at her diet through mineral balancing with Heather Richardson of Amberley Aromatics and once yearly slow-motion video analysis has allowed Dancer to stay much more comfortable.
Although she wont ever be completely 100% sound on her right fore, she is definately a lot more comfortable and sound now than she was when she was first diagnosed last summer.
Video of Dancer’s footfalls walking towards the camera
Video of Dancer’s footfalls walking away from the camera
If you would like any further information about how I have managed Dancer’s arthritis, please feel free to drop me an email, I would be more than happy to share my learnings.