Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Note for Clarification

To follow-up on yesterday's post concerning joint supplementation, I briefly mentioned the use of hyaluronic acid (HA) as an injectable. As a point of clarification, I would certainly not begin the prophylactic use of joint injections without first acquiring a definitive diagnosis of the problem at hand, which would include a thorough lameness exam by a board certified veterinarian as well as diagnostic imaging such as ultrasound and x-ray. Only then would it be safe to even consider more aggressive (than oral supplementation) treatment.
It is my opinion that we tend towards over-medication and under-diagnosis in this country, which I don't want to even hint at supporting. Through correct conditioning, fitness, and "legging a horse up" by long slow distances over varied terrain, we should hopefully avoid the over-use or indeed misuse of the many drug therapies available. If the horse has a definitive diagnosis made by a credible veterinarian, then one should by all means treat as aggressively or conservatively as one deems appropriate for that situation. However jumping to joint injections from a single episode of a puffy fetlock would at best be ridiculously unnecessary, and at worst border on cruelty. As a horse owner, I have an active role in maintaining the health of my horse, and I owe it to the horse to rely on sound medical advice from professional experts including doctors of veterinary medicine.
As Dr. A. Kent Allen, DVM has said, "ABSENT A DIAGNOSIS: Medicine is poison. Surgery is trauma. Alternative therapy is witchcraft."