Treatment.—Attention should be directed toward relief for the animal in all acute inflammations. Local applications of heat are helpful and, of course, rest is essential. Towels that are wrung out of hot water and held in position by means of a few turns of a loose bandage and this covered with an impervious rubber sheet, will serve as a practical means of application of hydrotherapy. Following this when conditions improve, as in the handling of all similar cases, counterirritation is indicated.
When proper care is given at the onset and where injury does not involve too much ligamentous tissue, recovery takes place in a few weeks but in some cases which occur during the winter season in farm horses, complete recovery does not result until several months have passed.
The hock is said to be curbed when the normal appearance, viewed from the side, is that of bulging posteriorly at any point between the summit of the calcaneum and the upper third of the metatarsus. Among some horsemen a hock is said to be “curby” whenever there exists an enlargement of any kind on the posterior face of the tarsus whether it be due to sprain, exostosis or proliferation of tissue as a result of contusion.
French veterinarians consider under the title of “courbe,” an exostosis situated on the mesial side of the distal end of the tibia. Cadiot and Almy state that this condition (courbe) is of rare occurrence. Percivall defines curb as “a prominence upon the back of the hind leg, a little below the hock, of a curvilinear shape, running in a direct line downwards and consisting of infusion into, or thickening of, the sheath of the flexor tendons.” Moeller’s version of true curb is a thickening of the plantar ligament (calcaneocuboid or calcaneometatarsal). Hughes and Merillat consider curb as a synovitis having for its seat the synovial bursa which is situated between the superficial flexor tendon (perforatus) and the plantar ligament.
Occurrence.—Certain predisposing factors seem to favor the occurrence of curb. A malformation of the inferior part of the tarsus so that its antero-posterior diameter is considerably less than normal is a contributing cause. Such hocks are known as “tied-in.” Another fault in conformation is the existence of a weak hock that is set low down on a crooked leg, especially when such a member is heavily muscled at the hip. Given such conformation in an excitable horse, and curb is usually produced before the subject is old enough for service. It is certain that in cases where conformation is bad, greater strain is put upon the plantar ligament. This structure serves to bind the tibial tarsal (calcis) bone to the metatarsus; traction exerted upon its summit by the tendo Achillis is great when animals run, jump or rear and also at heavy pulling. In animals having curby hocks, sprain is likely to result and curb supervenes.