Locking Stiflespersil grass affected!

The horse's stifle is equivalent to the human knee, and is designed to bend forward whereas the hock bends backwards.
A ‘locking stifle’ (more formally: 'upward fixation of the patella' or UFP) is a common problem in horses, especially young, growing horses or those in poor condition.
In severe cases, the horse will be unable to flex the affected hind leg (it will look very straight) and may even drag it behind him. Sometimes both hind limbs can lock and the poor horse cannot move at all!
Usually, the leg will unlock of its own accord, but if this is not happening gently ask the horse to back up. This will allow the ligament to slacken and help unlock the joint.



What Causes Stifles to Lock ?

As the cause is ‘weakness’ of the muscles needed to hold the ligament in place, treatments to date usually involve targeted exercise such as walking the horse up and down hills and on uneven terrain to strengthen the muscles.

Another cause of ‘muscle weakness’ is a lack of the right nutrients needed to operate the muscle. This is why young horses are particularly prone as they have an increased requirement for these same nutrients for growth. Hence we have found over the years that horses fed an appropriate diet do not develop locking stifles and feeding SOS in conjunction with certain diet adjustments (eleiminating high potassium items) works very simply, economically and effectively in most cases.


Current Recommendations?

In our experience it is well worth addressing the problem nutritionally BEFORE resorting to any of the following more traditional, comparatively drastic options such as:

  • Attaching ankle weights to the horse’s pasterns in order to work the muscles that support the stifle, strengthening them in the process.
  • ‘Blistering’ (injecting an irritant near the stifles to encourage the body to strengthen the surrounding ligaments) is another treatment.
  • Surgical intervention for serious cases. The horse will take several months to recover and will require numerous follow up vet visits to remove sutures and check its progress.

Locking Stifles Working Again...

You can see from the first part of this video clip that this little pony’s stifle really has locked! 
His owner says it would sometimes happen in both hind legs and he could not move at all.
This is what she orginally sent us...

“He is stabled at night and in a small paddock during the day. he gets a scoop of lucerne chaff and a small amount of cool and calm pellets in the evening when hay is required he gets half a biscuit of meadow hay. As for supplements I have tried several over the last 6months but no change to his stifle lock condition.”

We sent Linda some SOS in return for her feedback. We told her to swap out the Lucerne chaff for white chaff. Linda fed a third of a scoop of SOS several times a day when possible and it took one 2kg packet of SOS to get the results in the second half a few weeks later.
Here is his story...