When it comes to treating lameness, there are almost limitless options. Those options range from the almost completely benign (say, running cold water from a horse on your horse’s leg), to those with the potential to do harm (say, injecting a substance into your horse’s joint). Depending on the problem, any number of solutions may be offered. However, not all of those solutions are equally good.
For most conditions that cause lameness, time is the most important thing that you can give your horse. For all of the various drugs, substances, and devices that you can put on or in your horse’s leg, the fact of the matter is that most things that cause a horse to hurt enough to limp will require at least some period of time for things to get better. And, fortunately, time does heal many wounds. Of course, if a horse gets time to heal, and also gets some sort of a therapeutic procedure, invariably, it’s the procedure that gets the credit.
There are a number of things that can be done to and for your lame horse that are of demonstrable benefit. Some of the things that are done may be be labelled, “Unproven.” Finally, others fall into the category of disproven, or implausible. Your horse is always going to have the best chance to benefit from a therapy for which there is good evidence of effectiveness.
I’ll try to touch on as many of the options for treating lame horses as I can – there are so many, it’s going to take a while to get to them all!