Diseases of Horses Affecting the Hock Joint – Bog Spavin, Bone Spavin, and Curb


Horses are one of the special creatures and one of the most serving friends for humans. They are strong, majestic and exhibit a wide range of emotions. No matter whether they are all over the place of other horses or humans, they are astonishingly thriving and communicative in social settings. All such qualities of horses develop their strong bond with humans. This relationship has a long history. As the horses develop and become trained, they become a great source of transportation, companionship and labor. Beside this these qualities make them one of the few mammals which form a lifelong, emotional connection, mutually beneficial with humans. So we humans must take care of such a precious gift by God which supports us in many ways. In this article we are going to discuss one of the most common conditions of horses, which comes under the heading of diseases of Hock Joints. Beside this we will also explain its Ayurvedic view and how Ayurveda can help out with that. So let’s take a look!!!!

Diseases of horses affecting the hock joint


Hock Diseases in horses are one of most common conditions that occur in dogs. The most common cause of these conditions is hock lameness which is characterized by shortened gait, stiffness in hind legs and weight shifting. Most of the performance horses experience lameness in their lives. Hock Joint problems in horses are most common due to their heavy weight loading work, mostly in upper-level show-jumping horses. Surveillance and medical imaging of Hock joints are the two keys for early detection and management. The great thing is we can support them in reducing their lameness and preventing them from various Hock diseases with good management. For this keep your horse body weight appropriate, support healthy joint health along with a good nutrition.


The hock is the group of joints which works to extend and flex the horse’s lower limb. The hock is the hinge joint as its movement is only limited to extension and flexion, in one plane. The hock joint consists of four joints which involve the movement of the hind leg of the horse. The four joints that makes a hock joint are listed below

  • Proximal Intertarsal Joint
  • Tibio-Tarsal Joint
  • Distal Intertarsal Joint
  • Tarso Metatarsal Joint

The largest and the upper joint is the tibiotarsal joint and this joint is responsible for high-motion and most of the movement of the hock. Other lower joints are responsible for low movement but provide high shock absorption.


The hock joints basically perform two types of functions which includes Shock Absorption and Propulsion.

Shock Absorption

For the hind end the hock joints act as great shock absorbers. The anatomy of Hock joints allows them to flex while in an early stance phase (the phase during which hooks build contact with ground). This flexion helps in preventing concussion in the small structures of the lower limb. During breakover in the gait cycle a torque is created, this also is prevented by the hock joint.


The muscles responsible for extension of hock are semitendinosus and biceps femoris. The hock extension allows forward propulsion of the horse’s body. The muscles responsible for flexion of hock are tensor fasciae, peroneus tertius and extensor digitorum longus and lateralis. This flexion of the hock helps in lifting up the limbs from the ground and placed on the ground by preventing toe dragging.



Bog Spavin is the term used for inflammation of the hock joint, specifically the inflammation of the synovial membrane which causes distention of the joint capsule that surrounds the hock joint. This condition may occur because of congenital problems, trauma, degenerative joint disease, infection, poor joint conformation or maybe it’s idiopathic. In this condition the swelling is mainly observable on the hock’s middle back surface. Mild swelling is noticed on the other side of the joint mainly near the back.

If you notice such inflammation in your horse, you must visit the veterinarian and he will evaluate this condition with x-rays to make it clear whether there is any structural defect or not. If there is fluid accumulation in the joint, extracted by veterinarian for checking infection.


Bone Spavin is also known as osteoarthritis that is one of the degenerative conditions of the joint cartilage and bone in joints which leads to gradual cartilage loss and pain that further leads to lameness. Among the four joints of hock one or more may get affected and usually leads to hock lameness but not in early stages. The cause of Bone Spavin is not obvious and may be caused due to improper configuration of hock joint, mineral imbalance or excessive jarring injury. Bone Spavin can affect all breeds of Horses. Hock lameness caused due to bone spavin tends the dog to drag the toe, the hock movement decreases and the hoof movement is shortened.

Diagnosis of this condition is totally based on the physical examination, history and X-rays to look after abnormal bony growth and joint degeneration.


Curb is the bowing or thickening of plantar tarsal ligament that is located in the back of the hock and the cause is usually strain. In this condition this specific ligament becomes thickened mostly after slipping, falling, pulling or jumping. This condition is commonly seen in standardbreds in which the main cause is poor configuration of hock that makes them more prone to developing this condition. Physical observation from the side of the hock shows 4 inches enlargement on the bone below the hock’s point. Acute curb leads to inflammation and lameness but in chronic cases lameness or pain is rare. In this condition a horse while standing supports the limb with elevating the heel.


The symptoms experienced by a horse with hock lameness ranges from mild to severe. Most of the clinical features are seen while their performance and while the horse shows their feeling when they are pushed from the hind end. Following are some of the common clinical features we are able to notice in various Hock problems

  • Shifting of weight on corresponding legs while standing
  • Short hind end gait
  • Reduction in spring over jumps
  • Resistance going downhill
  • Stiffness, usually resolve while warm-up
  • Swelling and heat in hock area
  • Stiffness noticed while asked to pick the hind legs up


Common causes of Hock lameness could be prevented by exercise, supplementation, feeding practices and by maintaining a horse with healthy body condition. Hock diseases further lead to hock lameness and that can be prevented by an exercise program that supports the hock integrity and avoids it from injuries. A balance between collection work and jumping of the horse must be maintained. In the initial training time always train them gradually to avoid over fatigue and over exertion. Avoid much work on hard surfaces which prevents hock joints from concussive forces, especially in case of osteoarthritis. Reduce the risk of arthritis by keeping the horse at an appropriate weightage.


Ayurveda is such a science that is serving animals with great success as the concept of management in humans and animals are same as that of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a science which revolves around Vata, Pitta and Kapha and to maintain health the concept is to balance the Doshas. One ancient science field that is serving animals is Pashu Chikitsa. As per Ayurveda Hock problems in horses can be correlated to Asthivaha Sroto Dushti same as that in bone diseases in humans correlated, before studying Asthi Vaha Srotas Dushti let us study what are Asthivaha Srotas. Asthivaha Srotas are the channels that convey building blocks for the Asthi Dhatu (Bone tissue). “अस्थिवहानां स्त्रोतसां मेदो मूलं जघनं च ।।” – According to Acharya Charaka (Ch. Vi. 5 / 8), the roots of the channels are Medh (fat) and jaghana (Hip bones).

Causes of Vitiation of Athivaha Srotas

Cause of Asthivaha Srotas dushti can also be considered as same as that of humans. These causes includes

व्यायामातिसंक्षोभादस्थनामनि विघटनात्। अस्थिवाहीनि दुष्यन्ति वातलानांच सेवनात्।।”

Which means the causes are Ativyayaam (Excessive exercise), Atikshobh (Excessive irritation), Asthi Vighattnaat (repeated trauma) and Vatala Ahaar (Vata aggravating diet), all of these cause vitiation of Asthivaha Srotas. Common symptoms of vitiation of Ashthiwaha Srotas: The vitiation of Asthivaha Srotas may leads to Adhyasti (Extra bony tissue growth), Adhi dant (Extra teeth growth), Danta Bhedha (Splitting type of pain in tooth), Danta Shoola (toothache), Asthi Bhedha (Splitting type of pain in bones), Asthi Shoola (Pain in bones), Vivarnta (body discoloration), etc.

Herbs supporting management of Hock joint Disorders in Horses

Following are some herbs that helps in managing hock problems in horses

Guggul (Commiphora mukul)

Guggul (Commiphora mukul) is a gum resin that has been used since ancient times for managing various bone disorders. This herb consists of miraculous anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant effects. This herb helps in relieving pain and inflammation in joint diseases thus it is beneficial in case of Hock diseases in horses.

Shallaki (Boswellia Serrata)

Shallaki (Boswellia Serrata) is well known for its analgesic properties. This herb also serves greatly with its immunomodulatory effects. In case of bone disorders it provides good results due to its anti-arthritic effect thus helps in reducing the symptoms of Hock diseases.

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is one of the best adaptogenic herbs. It is one of the crucial herbs that supports bone health because it helps in calcification of bones and also increases the cells that aid in producing bone tissue. It reduces inflammation which is one of the symptoms of Hock diseases.

Nirgundi (Vitex negundo)

Nirgundi (Vitex negundo) has been used since ancient times as a wonderful muscle relaxant, pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory. It can be used both externally in the form of oil or paste and internally in the form of leaf juice extract, powder or decoction. So due to these properties Nirgundi is quite beneficial in case of Hock diseases.

Haridra (Curcuma longa)

Haridra (Curcuma longa) consists of great imuno-modulatory effect and is one of the famous herbs used for various health concerns since ancient times. This herb has miraculous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which make this herb an effective remedy for conditions associated with inflammation and degeneration.

Shunthi (Zingiber officinale)

Shunthi (Zingiber officinale) is known to have anti-inflammatory properties which helps in relieving muscle pain due to overexertion. In Horses one of the most common hock joint diseases is osteoarthritis, this herb helps in alleviating the associated inflammation and pain.


Planet Ayurveda is an Ayurvedic company that has been serving mankind for more than 20 years and now effectively managing diseases in animals also. All of the products formulated by Planet Ayurveda are 100% safe and are free from any kind of added synthetic material and preservatives. The products are formulated under the guidance of M.D. Ayurveda practitioners, the products are 100% safe for humans as well as animals. Planet Ayurveda on the basis of Vata, Pitta and Kapha managing various diseases by working on the root cause of the disease. Planet Ayurveda provides with various remedies for Hock problems in Horses that we will discuss below

  1. Yograj Guggul
  2. Joint Aid Plus
  3. Boswellia Curcumin
  4. Ashwagandha Capsules
Herbal Products for Diseases of horses affecting the hock jointBuy: Now: Herbal Products for Diseases of horses affecting the hock joint



Yograj Guggul is one of the classical Ayurvedic formulations which is prepared by Planet Ayurveda under the strict guidance of M.D. Ayurveda practitioners. This formulation is available in form of tablets and consists of ingredients such as Guggul (Commiphora mukul), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Pippali (Piper longum), Dhanyak (Coriander sativum) and various others. The formulation helps in preventing the further deterioration of the bones adjoining Hock Joints. It is effective formulation for reducing Vata dosha which helps in providing analgesic effect thus relieves pain and discomfort in Hock diseases of Horses.

Dosage: 6 tablets twice daily with meals.


Joint Aid Plus is one of the polyherbal capsule formulations by Planet Ayurveda. These capsules are made up by standardised extract of herbs such as Nirgundi (Vitex negundo), Sonth (Zingiber officinale), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and some others. As the name suggests it aids joint health with its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It helps in relieving pain and supports the functioning of the hock joints.

Dosage: 4 capsules twice daily with meals.


Boswellia Curcmin is one of the capsule formulations of Planet Ayurveda. These capsules are made up of standardised extract of herbs shallaki (Boswellia serrata) and Haridra (Curcuma longa). Both the herbs are well known for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties thus helping in reducing pain and inflammation in Hock diseases. Beside this Boswellia curcumin aids in alleviating other associated symptoms such as stiffness, difficulty moving, etc.

Dosage: 4 capsules twice daily with meals.


Ashwagandha Capsules is a single herbal capsule formulation which is produced by Planet Ayurveda with a standardised extract of herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). This herb is well known for its strength providing properties. These capsules help in managing the symptoms of Hock diseases by providing strength to the muscles. The remedy helps in preventing and promoting joint health by increasing the formation of cells which form bone tissue.

Dosage: 4 capsules twice daily with meals.


Contact Planet Ayurveda Support Team to provide you the costing / ordering and delivery information at – costing.planetayurveda@gmail.com or Call at 0172-521-4030 (India), +91-172-521-4030 (Outside India) or Whatsapp at (+91) 9915-593-604

Hock Diseases in horses are one of most common conditions that occur in dogs. The most common cause of these conditions is hock lameness which is characterized by shortened gait, stiffness in hind legs and weight shifting. Horses are one of the special creatures and one of the most serving friends for humans.There are three common conditions of Hock Joint named as Bog spavin, Bone Spavin and Curb. As per Ayurveda Hock problems in horses can be correlated to Asthivaha Sroto Dushti same as that in bone diseases in humans. Ayurveda serves in the management of diseases in horses also because this science is based on the criteria of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. There are various herbs which helps in managing conditions of Hock Diseases in Horses such as Nirgundi (Vitex negundo), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Nirgundi (Vitex negundo), Shallaki (Boswellia Serrata), etc. Planet Ayurveda provides various herbal remedies prepared from such herbs so you can get help from Planet Ayurveda for your horse.

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Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurvedic Medicine) is an expert Ayurveda consultant in Chandigarh (India). He has vast experience of herbs and their applied uses. He has successfully treated numerous patients suffering from various ailments, throughout the world. He is CEO and Founder of Krishna Herbal Company and Planet Ayurveda in Chandigarh, India. He researched age old formulas from ancient Ayurvedic text books to restore health and save human beings from the worst side-effects of chemical-based treatments.