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How to tell if a horse is lame on the front or hind legs

Your horse looks lame and limping. Perhaps the signs could be subtle. Sometimes there is no obvious swelling, you don’t feel the warm area, there are no cuts or other obvious injuries, so you’re not sure which leg to start looking for. But you need to decide which leg to treat or which hoof to check for problems. Here’s how to tell if your horse is lame in the front or rear.

How to tell if your horse is suffering from front or back pain

First, watch the horse stand still. If it’s lame and visibly resting and avoiding putting weight on one leg, it’s likely the injured leg. It may stand with its hooves pointing upwards, or it may point its hooves forward of its normal standing position. If the horse is standing forward on one hoof, this is called pointing. This may indicate a problem with the hoof, or a limp problem in the leg. Sometimes a horse will try to point with both hooves. This means there is a problem with both. Collapsed horses or horses with navicular bones can also point, they may point to more than one hoof at a time, and the overall look is uncomfortable.

Recognize forequarter lameness

Watch the horse ride on loose reins, or trot straight with loose lead on firm, level ground. If the horse’s front legs are lame, the horse will press its nose down.If the horse lifts its head slightly upwards, lame on the hindquarters or legs. If a horse is visibly lame in either the front or rear legs, there will be no head shaking. Their stride will be choppy and short.

When a horse is lame in front, you can determine which leg is lame by watching carefully and noticing when his head is raised, and which leg is on the ground at that moment. He will lower his head when a sound leg touches the ground and raise his head when a sore hoof or leg touches the ground.

Recognize hindquarters lameness

If the lame is in the back, he will drop his hips slightly on the lame side.Horses with stiff hindquarters on both sides gait on stilts, do not shake their heads. The head swing is the horse’s attempt to lighten the weight on the legs.

When looking for the injured area, start with the hooves and work your way up. Lameness can be caused by bruises from trimmed stones, soft soles, and injuries or strains anywhere on the leg. Foot boats, punctures and even advanced cases of hoof thrush can lead to lameness in horses. Further up the leg, tendon or ligament strains can cause mild lameness. Bone chips in the joints, arthritis, and many other problems can lead to mild lameness.

Causes of lameness

On a very careful examination, you may notice a stone bruise on the sole of the hoof, a slight puffiness somewhere in the leg indicating swelling, or a sensitive area that makes the horse wince when it palpitates. Signs of injury may include swelling, heat, and obvious signs that the horse may be injured. Lameness can be caused by any type of injury while working or in a pasture or pen. Alternatively, poor diet, poor farrier care, or microbial infections such as thrush and greasy heels can cause hoof problems.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your veterinarian right away. For health-related questions, be sure to consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know your pet’s health history, and can give your pet the best advice.

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