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Finding Hidden Lameness with Cedar Oil

Lameness can be difficult to detect in horses, often going unnoticed until the symptoms worsen. Subtle limping or gait abnormalities that point to joint, hoof or limb pain may be visible only at certain speeds or movements. This makes early diagnosis a challenge. A simple technique using cedar oil can help reveal the onset of lameness before it becomes more apparent.

When brushed or applied topically to the legs, cedar oil causes irritation and inflammation of the skin and tissues underneath. The resulting tenderness and sensitivity amplifies any existing pain or stiffness in the joints or hooves. When all four legs are tested with cedar oil, the horse's reaction will be more exaggerated on limbs experiencing discomfort. They may flinch, pull the leg away or act resentful of that leg being handled.

This leg's amplified sensitivity indicates an irritated area that requires further veterinary investigation. The cedar oil does not diagnose the cause of lameness, but shows detectable sensitivity that owners can identify. Subtle lameness going unnoticed early on can worsen into chronic pain or arthritis. Cedar oil testing helps detect issues early.

While not a substitute for a full veterinary lameness exam, cedar oil is an inexpensive, low-tech tool for owners to identify possible areas of concern. The oil is safe, simple to apply and rinses off easily with warm water. Early detection leads to earlier treatment, improving the outcome for the horse. Brief irritation from the cedar oil is a small price to pay for identifying hidden lameness problems before they advance.

Next time you suspect your horse is a little "off," but the lameness is difficult to pinpoint, reach for cedar oil. Painting it on all four legs can help zero in on the limb that needs veterinary care. Catching lameness early optimizes recovery and may prevent long-term issues.

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