This section is from the book "The Farmers Ready Reference Or Hand Book Of Diseases Of Horses And Cattle", by S. C. Orr. . Also available from Amazon: The Farmer's Ready Reference;.
Ringbone is the name given to an enlargement or bony growth which forms about the pastern. Sometimes it is located at the upper and sometimes at the lower joint when it is the more serious. As the enlargement often extends almost around the limb it has received the name of ringbone. It may come from a sprain or anything else that could cause irritation in the joint. It may result from inflammation caused by a wire cut near the joint; and in some instances it is due to hereditary influence.
Symptoms. - If there is an enlargement it is plain to the eye; and sometimes there will be enlargement without lameness. But there are cases in which the enlargement is very small, yet the animal is quite lame, and it will require careful scrutiny to locate it. There will be unusual heat about the joint, and pain upon pressure to the parts with the fingers; there will be lameness when first starting out which will grow better and may disappear on warming up; but it will return as soon as the animal is allowed to stand long enough to cool off. But there are cases in which the lameness does not decrease by warming up, and such cases are generally incurable.
Treatment. - In many cases it is not satisfactory. If there is simply enlargement without lameness, treatment is not only unnecessary but useless, as the enlargement cannot be removed. If the lameness is noticed in the beginning, before the bony deposit has begun to form, apply cold water to the part two or three hours a day till inflammation has been removed, then apply the Biniodide of Mercury Blister once every three or four weeks until three applications have been given. The animal should be in the stable and walk as little as possible during treatment. If there is no improvement under this treatment the only resort is the firing iron in the hands of a competent veterinarian.