Companion horses and ponies are living longer than ever before. Because of this, management of chronic medical conditions and age-related conditions is more important than ever. Age-related conditions may indicate painful degenerative joint disease, which is often associated with equine Cushing’s disease (please see our fact sheet for more information on Cushings disease) in older equines.
These conditions often need to be medicated on a long term basis to maintain quality of life. An elderly pony with arthritis may be on a long-term course of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in affected joints. These medications are taken orally, and occasionally can lead to the development of gut ulceration. Whilst on these medications we will periodically check your animal to ensure that the medication is still appropriate and effective. We may advise a blood sample to run an “Equine Health Profile”. This provides us with information on liver and kidney function, to ensure the medication is not causing harm to these organs which have to metabolise and excrete it.