Bog Spavin in the Horse's Hock

Equine Body Work requires knowledge of the Horse's anatomy

A Bog Spavin occurs in a
horse's hock

An equine bog spavin is a soft swelling on the front of the horse's hock

The horse's hock, or tibio-tarsal joint has like other equine limb joints a capsule containing the joint fluid.

If the pressure within this joint increases due to inflammation the joint capsule will bulge out of the surface of the hock giving rise to what is called a "Bog Spavin".

Unlike a Bone Spavin a Bog Spavin will appear soft and fluctuating and usually appear on the inner front part of the horse or pony's hock.

Manipulation will confirm that these swellings are part of the joint itself - firm pressure on the swelling will result in the fluid being pushed back into the joint and then out again at a different point - usually on the outside rear part of the hock.

Bog Spavins tend to be only a cosmetic problem and do not always cause a horse to go lame.

They tend to appear in horse with weak hock conformation and may come and go with exercise.

Bog Spavins in young horses

In younger horses the appearance of a bog spavin may cause lameness or stiffness. This should be investigated as the problem may be caused by Osteochondritis. This is a condition of fast growing horses which can also affect other joints.

Treatment of Bog Spavins

If the horse's hock conformation is basically good a veterinary surgeon may drain the fluid from the swellings through a needle under local anaethetic.

This will acheive an immediate short term cure for a bog spavin - but the fluid usually returns. Repeated drainage is generally inadvisable.

Special elasticated bandages with strategically placed pads are available to place pressure on and thus reduce swelling, but even with these a bog spavin will often reappear.

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