Support for Equine Ligament Injury

I rescued a horse about one month ago, later to find that he has a degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis injury from racing. The original owner did not take care of the injury and the horse was underweight approximately 400 – 500 pounds. I am slowly putting the weight back on him with little problems, but have included an MSM supplement to accompany his ration for his injury. My concern is there anything I can do for this horse so that he can be started back in light riding in approximately six to 10 months? Beth

Dear Beth,

I assume you’re working with a veterinarian to diagnose the extent of this injury, follow its healing, and develop a plan of physical therapy. That’s really the best way to assess if your horse will be ready for riding in the time frame you mention.

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Adding MSM to his diet is a good idea because of the effects on pain and inflammation that research shows it provides. You may want to choose a supplement that also includes silica and collagen, since a growing body of evidence provides rationale for the use of these two ingredients to specifically support the healing of connective tissue.

Lydia Gray, DVM MA, is the Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak. Prior to joining SmartPak, Dr. Gray served as the first-ever Director of Owner Education for the American Association of Equine Practitioners. She has authored numerous articles in publications such as The Horse, Horse Illustrated, Western Horseman and a variety of veterinary journals and magazines. Dr. Gray is also a frequent speaker at horse expos, veterinary conventions and other events. After graduating with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and receiving her Master's Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, she practiced at the Tremont Veterinary Clinic for several years. Dr. Gray is active in the American Veterinary Medical Association and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. She enjoys training and showing her Trakehner, Newman, in both combined driving and dressage, and is a USDF “L” Program Graduate (with distinction). Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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Posted in Ask the Vet, Lameness

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2 comments on “Support for Equine Ligament Injury
  1. Laura says:

    It is also useful to point out the word “degenerative” in the description of this affliction. I liked the caveat about consulting with a vet, it is not only true that the horse may not be ready for riding in the timeframe mentioned, but that the horse may never be ready to be ridden. Kudos for rescuing the horse, hopefully the fact that it may never be suitable for work again is understood.

  2. JP says:

    Part of Medicine Bag Project’s ‘War Horse Formulas’ is their Ligdon Formula. This stuff is amazing. It’s a natural formula with a type II Collagen. Some horses reattached their ligaments/tendons without surgeory. Up and walking in 30 days and back to riding fulltime in a few months. This is what you need, I can guarantee it. Here is the PDF for the ligdon formula I pulled off the website(

    Hope your horse is well. You need to get ahold of Conn at the medicine bag project. It will change your life as well as your horse’s!

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