Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Pop or Clunk Sound when Bearing Weight on Hind Limb or Walking

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

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

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • If you notice any lameness or have any other concern.

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

  • If you do not notice lameness.

This sign may be associated with a variety of conditions, some serious and others not.

Higher pitched clicking or snapping sounds often come from the extensor tendons as they travel through the hock, and are usually not a problem.

A deep popping or clunking sound commonly results from the intermittent locking of the patella, especially if the sound corresponds to the transition from the stance phase to the front (swing) phase of the stride.

Horses with fractures and severe joint injuries may make popping sounds when they bear weight. If your horse is very lame or reluctant to bear weight, a more serious injury might have occurred.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), and their limbs. Focus on the stifle area of the limb. Gently pull the horse toward you into weight bearing and keep one hand on the stifle or hip. Determine whether you can feel where the sound is coming from. Assess your horse for lameness. Share your findings and concerns with your vet.

If the horse is also lame, has reduced performance, if it is reluctant to walk or bear weight on a limb, or there is heat or swelling anywhere on a limb, your vet should examine the horse.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

After observing the horse move and listening to the sound you are describing, your vet thoroughly evaluates the limb and performs a lameness exam.

Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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