Bone spavin

Veterinary advice should be sought before applying any treatment or vaccine.

Bone Spavin

Distal Tarsal OA, Intertarsal Synovitis

Bone spavin is a bony enlargement on the lower surface of the hock joint, most commonly found on the inside or front portions. It often occurs as a result of osteoarthritis. Clinical signs may initially consist of stiffness, improving with exercise. As the condition progresses, horses often begin to show evidence of dragging of the toe of the foot, reduced performance, moderate hindlimb lameness and uneven gait. Horses with bone spavin often demonstrate a lack of power or unwillingness to engage their hindquarters, jumping horses may suddenly start to refuse jumps, and others may be worse on a particular lead or reluctant to go downhill. Lameness will usually affect both hindlimbs and will progressively get worse over time.


Lameness, may initially improve w/ exercise
Dragging of the toe
Uneven gait
Reduced performance
Short, choppy gait
Uncomfortable in one lead
Shorter, lower arc in one foot
Jump refusal


  • History
  • Lameness exam - Flexion tests and joint blocks
  • Radiography


RestIn cases involving severe lameness
Modification of workloadChanging exercise length, intensity, and/or activities
Anti-inflammatory medication
Injections with Sodium hyaluronate, Hyaluronic acid, Adequan, and/or corticosteroids.
Oral joint supplementsGlucosamine, chondroitin, MSM
Corrective shoeing

Scientific Research References

Good Overviews

Risk Factors

  • Poor conformation - Horses with cow hocks or sickle hocks
  • Performance horses - Athletic horses engaging in activities which place uneven or excessive forces on the hock.