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Trochanteric Bursitis, Whorlbone

This is an obscure syndrome of inflammation of a fluid filled sac (bursa) and associated muscle over the greater trochanter of the hip, near the hip joint.

It is seen more often in Standardbred Trotters and can be seen in flat racing horses and in horses working heavily off of their hindquarters in deeper footing. It can also develop as a result of a fall onto the area.

It is often seen as a second source of lameness in limbs that are lame for some other reason, especially hock arthritis.

Diagnosis may be difficult. A presumptive case might consist of an undiagnosed, apparently upper limb lameness with a shortened gait and obvious pain response over the bony feeling trochanter. Blocking of the bursa can help differentiate the lameness.

I have limited experience with this diagnosis. Many times I have injected the gluteal region because I got a pain response there that I thought was significant but I never defined the bursa as a source of pain.


  • What diagnostics can be run that will confirm this diagnosis?
  • Why do you think the horse developed this problem?
  • Do you think there are other underlying problems?
  • Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


    Baxter, GM ed. Adams & Stashak's Lameness in Horses. 6th ed. Ames: Blackwell Publishing 2011.Higgins AJ, Snyder JR eds. The Equine Manual. 2nd Ed. Edinburgh: Elsevier Saunders 2006.


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