Innovative Research on Equine Lameness & Equine Conditioning Tips

Could biologic therapies be the future for treating joint disease?  Ontario Veterinary College researcher, Dr. Mark Hurtig and his team are investigating novel new methods to potentially repair tissue rather than just suppressing the signs of joint disease.

Hurtig also explains the mechanism and contributing factors to fetlock chip fractures stating they can be related to the surface that the horse works on and the intensity of that work.

15 minute You Tube video:

As a rider and veterinarian, Dr. Hurtig provides some precautions when resuming training of a horse:

  • Return to exercise slowly and incrementally with lots of walking
  • When introducing trotting avoid hard surfaces.
  • Avoid complex moves at first – promote relaxation.
  • Allow an adaptation time when working on new surfaces and cross-train on the surfaces you intend to expose your horse to.

Regarding the period of time required before a horse is ready for harder work, Hurtig says, “It depends on the biomechanical challenge to their muscular skeletal system.”

One could spend at least three months preparation before the horse is ready for high level performance.  It can also take up to a year to get ligaments and tendons ready for Olympic level sport.

Hurtig is excited about his research on Intra Articular therapies that utilize direct injection into the joint as a targeted therapy but cautions against injections used for maintenance or as a preventative measure.

Learn more about Dr. Hurtig’s research

Want to learn more about lameness?

Equine Guelph has free healthcare tools: Lameness Lab and Journey through the Joints

Test your knowledge and savvy for spotting lameness!

Notes to Editor:
Equine Guelph is the horse owners’ and care givers’ Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government – for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit

Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

Photos:  (high res images available upon request)

Web Link(s):
Story web link:

Other web links:
You Tube Video:

Lameness Lab tool:

Journey through the Joints tool:

Dr Mark Hurtig OVC page:

Media Contact:
Jackie Bellamy-Zions
Equine Guelph
Guelph, ON  N1G 2W1
519.824.4120 ext. 54756

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