What causes a horse to have a locked stifle?

Occasionally, a stifle joint becomes locked due to overstraining or genetic joint problems. When this happens, its back leg appears to be stuck in extension, often causing alarm. But don’t stress—locked stifles are relatively common.

Where are the stifles located in a horse?

Locking Stifles in Horses. The stifle joint in a horse’s hind leg corresponds anatomically to the knee joint in the human leg. However, instead of appearing halfway down the limb like the human knee, the horse’s stifle doesn’t even look like a joint because it is hidden within the structure of the horse’s upper hind leg.

When to call the vet for a locking stifle?

But it’s important to remember that, unlike a broken leg or other significant injury, a locking stifle will rarely cause your horse any distress. If your horse does become stuck in extension, but is otherwise happy and has no visible wounds, a locking stifle is the likely culprit. If you’re at all worried, though, it’s always best to call your vet.

What to do if your horse has a stifle problem?

Lameness may be intermittent, particularly in older horses. In some horses, there is mild swelling of around the joint, but in most instances, horses show no outward signs. The cysts can be confirmed with x-rays. The lesions can be treated conservatively with rest and steroid injections.

How to treat locked stifles in horses?

Part 3 of 3: Seeking Professional Help Ask your veterinarian about supplements. Ask your veterinarian if vitamins or supplements would be effective in treating your horse’s locked stifle. Try equine aquatic therapy. If your horse is struggling with locked stifles, look for facilities near you offering aquatic therapy for large animals. Ask about blistering the stifles.

What are symptoms of stifle problems?

When stifle trouble strikes, the symptoms include heat, swelling and lameness as well as back and croup soreness, which are similar to those of hock problems, initially making diagnosis difficult, says Dr. MacDonald. In addition, the stifle-sore horse may exhibit common performance issues, such as stiffness,…

What is a horse stifle?

The stifle is a complex hinge joint in the upper hind limb of the horse, and the largest joint in the horse’s body. Its role is to provide unfettered flexion and extension of the hind limb, which allows the horse to move forward with smooth impulsion. The stifle also participates in the passive stay apparatus,…