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[RC] 19 year old horse with arthritis - Arabs4sprt

I need some encouragement and words of wisdom.  I have a 19 year old Arabian 
mare, Cachet, a 100% CMK mare (old lines Shalimar, loads of 
Skowronek/*Raffles) who has just been diagnosed with arthritis in her left hock 
and left front 
pastern.  We didn't do xrays because the vet was thankfully trying to save me 
some money and because the treatment wouldn't be any different.  We're putting 
her on Adequan, for a month to see if that will help.  He suggested MSM too.  
Her symptoms are very mild, she was having stifle locking problems 
occassionally (for which I emailed this group and someone suggested maybe a 
involvement, thanks you were right!).  That problem didn't really progress, but 
started getting slow going down hills, and then became somewhat short-strided.  
She has maybe a Grade 1 lameness, I can see a slight head-bob when she is 
trotting downhill that the vet couldn't really see, I could see it only because 
know her so well.  So she's not that bad now.  She does have some obvious 
boney changes going on in her left front foot, boney swelling at the front of 
P1-P2 junction, and she has some boney swelling lower down near the outside of 
the coronet band.  The vet thought that latter might indicate low ringbone 
but I'm thinking maybe it's just a sidebone.  However she has been having her 
joints in her neck and elsewhere go snap-crackle-pop occassionally and there is 
no doubt that she is shorter-strided than she should be, so definitely her 
miles are catching up to her.
   My question has to do with whether there is anything else I can do for 
her?  Also I don't know if I should give her any bute or not, the vet suggested 
that as a possibility but I'm concerned.  I've read that chondroitin and 
glucosamine may not be helpful and therefore could be a waste of good money, 
I've also read that bute might degrade the joints further and therefore be 
counter-productive.  I'm open to opinions and ideas.  Also any particular 
regimen that might be helpful?  She is turned out in a 1 acre dry lot with 4 
other horses for roughly 8 to 12 hours a day depending on the day, it has 
gentle hills.  Give me some idea of what to expect as an outcome, she's my 
trail horse, my best buddy, and the mother of my horse tribe (two purebred 
daughters, and two half-Arab/Oldenburgs daughter and granddaughter [both for 
sale]).  I would like to be able to enjoy her company on the trail again, what 
chance do you think she has of being able to go out with me comfortably?  

Tracy Scheinkman
Misty Mountain Arabian Sport Horses
Tucson, AZ
The whole ride experience can be very hard, and at times you question why
you put yourself through such abuse. But then you remember all those
moments when you pop up over a hill and are suddenly surrounded by the most
stunning views.  It's just you and your horse and for a moment time stops
and you can hear the angels sing.  Therein lies the addiction, at least for
~  Leslie Beyers

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