Lameness is an abnormality of gait which can be caused by pain, loss of neuromuscular control, or a mechanical factor limiting normal movement. The cause of a lameness problem should be isolated by proper physical examination, flexion tests, and local anaesthesia. Routine imaging of areas of suspicion includes radiography, ultrasonography, and scintigraphy. Joint disease is a common cause of lameness and may be due to degenerative joint disease and/or developmental orthopaedic disease, including osteochondrosis. Heritability and conformation both have important roles in the development of joint disease. Therapies for joint disease include rest, intraarticular injections, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, and arthroscopy, performed either for diagnostic and/or therapeutic purposes. Thoroughbreds and nonracing performance horses more often have superficial digital flexor tendon problems and Standardbreds more often have suspensory ligament problems. Therapies for soft tissue injuries include rest, physical therapy, peritendinous sodium hyaluronate, and shoeing changes. Considering the high level of wastage in the horse industry, prevention should receive more focus. Four important factors in prevention are heritability, conformation, dietary calcium, and proper training techniques.
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