Fighting osteoarthritis in horses
"That day, when Bles refused to jump; that's when I knew something wasn't right." Samantha swallows hard, then carries on with the story. "Bles wasn't the easiest to ride. But she had a lot of heart, especially when it came to showjumping. Her ears would prick up, and there she'd go. She simply didn't have it in her to stop."
Until the day that Bles did stop. A very black day for Samantha.
The diagnosis came soon afterwards: osteoarthritis. And with it, the end to Bles' and Samantha's showjumping career.
Samantha points to her favourite photo. Surreptitiously, she wipes a tear from her cheek. "That was us, before Bles got arthritis."
The story of Samantha and Bles is based on a real-life story. All we've done is change their names. What is more, it likely rings true to many if not most horse owners.
Joint damage and osteoarthritis go hand in hand with a lot of pain and restriction in the freedom of movement. For (sport) horses such as Bles, the diagnosis frequently puts a stop to ridden work. Sometimes, it might even result in the horse having to be put down.
Investigating the underlying causes of joint disease, improving the diagnosis, and developing and testing new treatment methods, is therefore vital for horses such as Bles.
The aim of this project is for the researchers of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine to gain insight into the very complex condition that is osteoarthritis. That way, they will take the essential first step on the road towards making better, faster diagnoses and developing the most effective treatment methods.
Friends of VetMet wants to help them achieve their goal. Will you help us help horses such as Bles?