Frequent question: What causes locking stifles in horses?

Problems occur when the patella gets ‘stuck’ in the upward position; this is termed upward fixation of the patella (UFP) or a locking stifle. When the patella fails to disengage from the bony ridge, the leg remains extended, giving the characteristic stance seen in horses with a locking patella.

How do you help a horse that has a locking stifle?

For mild locked stifle cases, exercise and a balanced hoof trim may help your horse. Lack of fitness may cause weak muscles and ligaments, so simply conditioning your horse can sometimes help solve the stifle problem. 2 For severe locking, ask your farrier to “rocker,” or roll, the toe of the hoof.

What is locking stifles in horses?

Upward fixation of the patella—also called sticking or locking stifles—occurs when the medial patellar ligament of the stifle becomes hooked on the end of the femur. When this occurs, the horse cannot flex the joint or advance the limb.

Is stifle lock hereditary?

Whilst often the direct cause for stifle lock is not fully understood, many feel it is a hereditary condition. Factors which influence its likelihood include muscular condition (particularly quadriceps), conformation, lack of fitness and immaturity.

How do you exercise a horse with stifle problems?

Walking and trotting in straight lines and over ground poles is commonly the first step. Tail pulls to the side can be used to strengthen the tensor facia latae. And cavaletti are eventually incorporated as well. Simple additions to care such as cold hosing and NSAIDS are often used to help progress the rehabilitation.

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Can you jump a horse with stringhalt?

My veterinary book also states the same , horses with stringhalt can jump. It also agrees with you that it is normally caused by nerve damage of some kind.

What does stifle lock look like?

A locked stifle is very obvious and can look alarming. However, it’s usually not as serious as it first appears. If your horse has the condition, he’ll stand with his hind leg locked in extension (it will appear very straight and stiff) and he may drag the toe of his hoof along the floor behind him.

How long does a stifle injury take to heal?

These injuries are caused by trauma, and can be localised to the ligament due to pain and swelling over the affected area. These can be further characterised with ultrasound. The prognosis for mild sprains of the ligaments is good with 4-6 weeks of rest and a further 4-6 weeks of controlled exercise.

What is a sticky stifle?

‘Sticky Stifle’ is a result of a slight problem with the locking mechanism which fixes the stifle joint and allows the horse to stand sleeping – as a result, the rest of the horse’s hind leg is affected. Sometimes this locking mechanism in the stifle gets “stuck” and the horse or pony drags his hind leg and toe.

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