How Do You Treat Arthritis In Horses Naturally? Learn Today!

Old Horse

Much like people, elderly horses can exhibit stiffness in their movement. Arthritis often enough causes of this. When a horse develops, arthritis and inflammation of the joints are almost inevitable; however, early detection and thorough treatment can delay its progress and reduce pain. Several natural and herbal remedies can help. Including:

ArnicaDevil’s Claw
White Willow

So What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is the term for a group of conditions that affect the joints of the body. The term ‘arthritis’ implies ‘joint inflammation.’ Within the overarching word ‘arthritis’, there are over 100 disorders. Every form of arthritis has different effects on the joints. It starts to degrade and weaken the padding and cartilage lining at the ends of the bones inside the joint. There is also a lack of lubricating fluid within the joint. As a whole, the joint has been losing the ability to soften impacts when the horse is moving and contributing to joint pain and the horse becoming lame.

Signs Of Arthritis in horses

Arthritis will affect any breed and can also affect any age. Many horses are at likelihood of developing arthritis of moderate to serious levels throughout their life. Variables that might contribute to the occurrence of arthritis include injury, repetitive activities, fast changes in direction and frequent stops, hard work, exaggerated gaits as well as a long jumping Indications that might suggest arthritis in your horse include:

Lameness, uneven gait or short stridesReduction in the range of movement of the joints
Stiffness, especially when you start moving them away from a cold start but they improve as they warm-upModerate swelling of the distal limbs joints or skeletal inflammation in the distal limb joints area
Unwillingness to move or perform at their normal abilityShift in personality or not able to work at their normal level

Your veterinarian can make a clear assessment of arthritis through history and clinical review, clinical workup including nerve or joint blocks, and the use of x-rays.

What Natural Things Can I Do To Help?

Mild activity is good for a horse with arthritis. It can include slow walking and, dependent on the severity of arthritis, sometimes very mild riding.  Aim to place the least pressure on the joints, a relatively level flat yard is desirable to a sloping paddock where possible. Making sure you look after your horse in the colder months is undoubtedly one of the most critical considerations for the management of their arthritis. A dry, properly fitted blanket helps retain heat and helps relax the upper limb joints. A cozy, well-insulated blanket is superior to several narrower blankets.   Many horses may choose to stay out at nighttime, and it will not always be feasible to stable but is recommended to make sure your horse is warm and comfortable.

How Do You Treat Arthritis In Horses Naturally? Learn Today! 1

Herbal Remedies For Horse With Arthritis

Devil’s Claw Treatment for Arthritis in horses

It has been found that the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects were equivalent to cortisone and phenylbutazone. But without any of the side effects that come with those drugs. Evidence exists to support the use of devil’s claw root to help alleviate arthritis as well as other debilitating conditions in your horse. Devil’s claw contains iridoid glycosides, materials that are thought to have significant anti-inflammatory properties. Harpagoside is heavily concentrated in this root, which is known to have substantial pain easing and anti-inflammatory properties. The key benefit is long term use does not produce any major side effects.


Do not administer to pregnant maresNot to be given to horses with gastric ulcers

Turmeric Treatment for Arthritis in horses

Turmeric has traditionally been Indian and Chinese remedies as an effective anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant used among individuals with a wide variety of illnesses, such as diarrhoea, lung infections, skin infections, and even malignant tumours. While more widely seen as a spice in the West, there is indeed an increasing understanding of its medicinal potential. Turmeric is ideal for horses affected by sore, stiff joints, arthritis and itchy skin problems, but also providing help for the digestive system. A majority of folks feed it to help horses that joints have been under distress.

Curcumin is the major ingredient in Turmeric, a compound known to have potent antibacterial properties in organisms. It is also a powerful antioxidant, beneficial for calming stiffness and discomfort, preserving healthy digestion. It’s really important to note, though, that no conclusive clinical studies have been performed to support the therapeutic impact of turmeric or to determine an appropriate dosage for horses.

Arnica Treatment for Arthritis in horses

For accidents, sprains, strains, swelling, rheumatoid arthritis or skin irritation there really is no better herb. There are many recorded instances of it being used in the areas where the Arnica was applied directly after a nasty landing to your horse and no bruise developing.  It can be used as a muscle rub, sometimes in bathwater, beneath gauze. Other herbs function nicely with Arnica in tandem. The impressive capacities of Arnica are due to the powerful anti-inflammatory hellenaline compound. Helenalin is part of a larger group of herbal chemicals known as sesquiterpene lactones. Sesquiterpene lactones including spinach and lettuce.

Arnica shines in bruise management of all sorts. Just apply it to the affected region. Arnica’s topical formulations reduce inflation and soothe arthritic joints. Beware though this plant is very poisonous in its raw herbal form when ingested orally. Arnica is safe only to be ingested when homoeopathically prepared.

White Willow Bark Treatment for Arthritis in horses

White Willow Bark has been a traditional medicine for many years. The herbal component has traditionally been used to alleviate discomfort, swelling, and fevers. Pharmacists throughout the mid-1800s found a way to manufacture a synthetic form of salicylic acid, termed acetylsalicylic acid, which we now recognize as aspirin.

Aspirin could produce ulceration of the stomach while white willow bark is much gentler to the stomach. Today, Equine herbalists employ white willow bark for both the management of arthritis-related pain and inflammation.


Do not prescribe to mares who are pregnant or lactating.Individual horses susceptible or allergic to aspirin or salicylates shouldn’t take this drug.  Those horses can experience adverse effects and skin rash.
Consideration must be exercised on the use of white willow bark on a horse that has Hypersensitivity, asthma, equine metabolic disease, diabetes, gastritis, haemophilia, hepatic disease, compromised blood clotting, renal and peptic condition.Side effects can occur and may include nausea, stomach pain, lightheadedness and heartburn.

Frankincense Treatment for Arthritis in horses

Frankincense is a dried sap of the Boswellia trees. The trees grow in Oman, Yemen as well as the Horn of Africa, as well as Somalia. Once it is dried, the sap can be burned as incense as well as considered to have many medicinal benefits.A rare form of frankincense named Boswellia frereana may reduce the production of inflammatory compounds. It can help to prevent cartilage deterioration and is the primary cause of arthritis.

Because of the above mention properties of anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving  Frankincense is prescribed to treat horses with lameness, lacerations and lesions, heart conditions, cardiac problems.


Do not administer to pregnant mares.

Finial Thoughts

But like anything you read on the internet, this is general information and should not be used to make a diagnosis or fill the role of a skilled Vet. If your horse isn’t very well, please visit your vet.

Marshall Newton

Marshall Newton stands as an authoritative figure in the world of dog care and training, enriched by over 40 years of hands-on experience. His lifelong journey with dogs has seen him own over 20 canines from a diverse range of breeds, making him a versatile expert in the field. Marshall's expertise doesn't stop at general dog care; he's also a specialist when it comes to French Bulldogs. As the founder of "Little French Dog," Marshall provides invaluable advice and resources for both new and seasoned Frenchie owners. Whether it's understanding breed-specific traits or discovering new care tips, Marshall is the go-to resource in the Frenchie community. Interested in learning more? Feel free to connect with Marshall on LinkedIn for a deeper dive into his professional background and a wealth of canine insights.

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