By: Dr. Lydia Gray
What is it?
Thoroughpin is a cosmetic blemish of the hock area. Similar to bog spavin and windpuffs, thoroughpin is fluid swelling of the tendon sheath not accompanied by heat or pain. In this particular instance, it is swelling of the sheath around the deep digital flexor as it passes over the hock. Thoroughpin does not usually cause lameness. Young horses just starting training, horses in heavy work, and any horse with poor hindlimb conformation in the fetlock region may be at risk for developing thoroughpin.
What can be done about it?
It is always a good idea to have a veterinarian examine any changes in your horse, especially new swellings in the hock area. In addition to a regular physical examination, the veterinarian may perform a lameness exam and image the area to rule out other causes of hock swelling such as a bog spavin or capped hock. X-rays will show changes in joints and bones while ultrasound will show changes in soft tissues such as tendons and ligaments.
What else do I need to know?
Thoroughpin is not the same as arthritis, but the same activities and conformation that lead to thoroughpin may lead to arthritis, tendinitis and other lamenesses. Therefore a horse that develops these blemishes should have its trimming/shoeing, arena footing, conditioning program and work schedule evaluated to prevent additional problems. Generally no treatment is necessary or recommended for routine cases of thoroughpin.
About Dr. Lydia Gray