Stocked up legs are a common problem in equine athletes of all levels and disciplines. The term refers to pitting edema or swelling from the coronary band up to the hock or carpus. While the condition is more common in older horses, once your horse begins to stock up, they can have problems throughout their life.
In this article, we’ll discuss the physiology behind stocked up legs and a few solutions that can help.
Why Do Horses Get Stocked Up?
Stocking up is caused by decreased circulation during periods of inactivity or rest. The anatomy of the horse leg puts equine athletes at increased risk of the condition due to the lack of musculature in their lower legs. As your horse moves, the compression of their foot stimulates circulation and propels fluid out of their lower extremities.
When your horse is still, this compression does not occur, and the fluid from their lymphatic system can begin to pool. As a result, horses develop the swelling and pitting edema associated with stocking up. Horses who are stalled are at the greatest risk of this condition. Additionally, as your horse ages, their circulatory and lymphatic system may not work as efficiently.
It’s important to note that certain medical conditions can cause similar swelling and significantly impact your horse’s long-term health. If the swelling is accompanied by heat, pain, lameness, or other changes in behavior, it’s critical to seek additional diagnostics and veterinary care.
Prevention and Treatment
When it comes to dealing with stocked up legs, prevention is key. Your cool-down routine can play a critical role in reducing your horse’s risk. Walking your horse out after a workout and increasing turnout can help improve circulation and prevent fluid pooling.
Another critical step in prevention is compression. Standing wraps have long been used to prevent fluid pooling. When applied properly, the compression can also help improve circulation and lymphatic drainage.
The EQ Press™
The EQ Press is a new and innovative device providing an alternative treatment option for horses who suffer from stocked up legs. The device uses pneumatic compression technology to improve circulation and move lymph fluid up and out of the equine leg. Not only can this device help treat horses that are stocked up, but it can also serve as a preventative measure to stop the swelling from occurring in the first place.
The EQ Press was developed by Vetletics to help improve animal health and performance. Their patented compression technology provides new solutions for veterinarians and horse owners to improve overall wellbeing and address many of the issues equine athletes face.
In addition to helping horses with stocked up legs, the EQ Press can also play a critical role in improving athletic recovery and treating certain medical conditions. Horses with lymphangitis can experience similar swelling as horses with stocked up legs. However, this condition can be quite painful and occurs due to inflammation of the lymphatic system. The EQ Press helps propel waste products and metabolites out of your horse’s legs, reducing the pain and inflammation associated with lymphangitis.
Stocking up can be a frustrating problem for many horses and owners. Luckily, it is a treatable condition, and certain steps can be taken to reduce the risk of swelling. Animal Health Innovations is proud to introduce the EQ Press into our product lineup as another tool to help improve equine health. With its unique dynamic compression technology, the EQ Press is providing new solutions for equine athletes.
If you are interested in learning more about the EQ Press and its many benefits, please contact us for a demonstration or additional information about this innovative product.