Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Joint Capsulitis, Synovitis, Tenosynovitis

The joint capsule is composed of thick tissues that encase the joints. Inflammation of the joint capsule (capsulitis) can be very painful in horses. Inflammation of the inner lining of the joint (synovium) and the outer lining of the joint (capsule) are common responses to injury of the joint. Scar tissue begins to grow and it restricts range of movement and can be painful.

Depending on the severity of the injury, your vet will provide you with a variety of treatment options and a prognosis. Monitor your horse’s response to treatment by paying attention to their degree of lameness, swelling, heat, range of motion of the joint in question as treatment and time progresses.


  • Is there ligament damage?
  • What is the best method of evaluating the soft tissue injury?
  • Is there bone or cartilage damage to the joint?
  • What is the horse's prognosis for return to intended use?

    Avoidance of injury is not always possible but the first step is selecting horses of adequate conformation and physical ability given your expectations. The next step is good husbandry and horsemanship.

    Once injury occurs, early detection and communication with your vet is essential.

    Helpful Outside ResourcesCredible Equine Health Information on the Internet

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


    We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.