Here’s an exchange with a reader about a common hock condition that may be of general interest.
ZQ: Hey Joanne, I was just after some advice. Orlando has come up with two soft lumps on his hock. And we've had X-Rays and they came up clean, so the Vets told us just to put him on bute for a week and it should go down and 2ish weeks rest in the paddock, but it's hasn't gone down at all. He's not lame or anything and it's got the vets stumped so I was wondering if you had seen anything like it before? I'll attach a photo! Thank you x
Images kindly supplied by Zoe Quintieri
JV: Hi Zoe. To me it looks like a bog spavin, often caused by a combination of conformation (e.g. straightish hocks) and sudden exertion (e.g. jumping, polo turns etc.), which places strain on the joint capsule of the hock. The bad news is that the swelling may stay there as a blemish. The good news is that if there is no heat, pain or lameness, it should have little or no effect on Orlando's usefulness. You could try rubbing castor oil into it once a day for a couple of days. Castor oil is a mild blister, so, according to Richard Chapman BVSc in his book "Do I Call the Vet?" the horse will resent this after about 3 days. Stop immediately and repeat after two weeks. If no improvement, stop doing it altogether but if it appears to work, keep repeating the process. Worth a try. How old is Orlando?
ZQ: Okay thank you so much!! He turned 6 in September so he still a baby, but it came up as he was on a spell for a month so could he have done it in the paddock? Or does it come up after they have stopped working?
JV: Not sure about why or when or how long it would take. He could have done it charging about in the paddock. Anyway, he should be fine - just keep an eye on it. You asked a good question with great photos - would it be OK if I worked them into a blog post, as it might help other people?
ZQ: Okay! Thank you so much, I rang the vet today as he wanted to know if the swelling went down, so when he rings back I'll see what he says but from what you have said it does sound like it is a bog spavin! And yes you most certainly can! We asked so many people about his leg and no one knew what it was so it would be good to help other people!
JV: Thank you!
From a very early age I have been able to tune in to what horses and ponies were thinking and what they were likely to do next.