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Ask Dr. Dave

Carol from California, writes:

Dear Dr. Dave,

I have a horse with ringbone in both front legs. I know there is no miracle cure and I have spent lots of money looking for it.

One of his legs fused naturally a few months ago, which was the worst one. Now the other leg has gotten worse. Will it follow and fuse also?

I bought the horse with ringbone in very early stages six years ago with the hopes it would not make him lame. He is not horribly lame, but cannot be ridden. I do keep him barefoot and his feet balanced.

Thank you for your time!

Dear Carol,

Thank you for the questions about your horse with ringbone.

First, I suggest you read my response to Becky from Queensland, Australia, on ringbone. It provides a pretty complete description, treatment, and prognosis of ringbone.

The fact your horse has ringbone in both front legs leads me to guess that your horse exhibits short, upright pasterns. Is that correct?

If you have gotten six years of service from your horse during the progression of ringbone, consider yourself lucky. Typically, ringbone takes its toll in less time.

To answer your direct question, I would think that if one front leg (joint) has fused, the other will follow if given enough time. I am not sure if I would want one of my horses to go through that length of pain looking for a cure. You may consider surgical intervention for a faster resolution of the condition.

When looking for your next horse I would encourage you to have a pre-purchase examination by a competent veterinarian to avoid purchasing a horse with a pre-existing, performance limiting condition.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to write.

Many thanks,

Dr. Dave