Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Resting One Hind Limb, One Limb Cocked

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

  • If you are convinced this is associated with lameness.

Normal healthy horses regularly rest with one limb cocked and with the other bearing full weight. Often they alternate the cocked and rested limbs.

However, horses with hind limb lameness also cock the affected limb. If there is rapid switching of the rested limbs, it may indicate pain associated with weight bearing in both limbs, as seen in horses with hind limb laminitis or degenerative suspensory ligament disease.

WHAT TO DO

If you are unsure whether this behavior is normal or not, assess the horse’s general health with the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), walk the horse looking for signs of lameness or reluctance to move. Examine the horse’s hind limbs, especially feeling for digital pulse and heat in the rear feet, and share your findings and concerns with your vet.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet will evaluate the horse at rest and in movement to determine whether there is a physical abnormality causing the behavior.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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