Dropped Hip In Horses

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Dropped hips are usually caused by trauma either from damaging the ischium (on the side of the horse) or the illum (top of the hip next to the spine) or the sacroilliac joint (the connection between the spine and the hip bone).

Depending on the damage and the length of time the horse has been dealing with it, the horse may or may not show any pain. I am sure there have been horses euthanized from pain from a damaged hip, but I have not heard of any. The most important thing to remember is to prevent this by doing 2 things.

Be careful leading horses in narrow places. Having a horse run into a stall can cause damage to the hips including fracture. This is commonly called a “knocked down hip,”

Be careful turning out a fresh horse onto a slippery pasture especially on ice.

Condition your horse properly so that the sacroilliac joint remains stable for the sport you use the horse for. An unstable joint can lead to “hunter’s bump” which is an enlargement of the SI joint. This is usually painful and limiting to the horse’s athletic performance.


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