Young Horse Joint Health

Osteochondritis Dissecans affects young, growing horses and causes joint pain. Learn more about these conditions in our free ebook.

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AQHA's FREE Young Horse Joint Health ebook explains why a condition called Osteochondritis Dissecans causes more than just normal "growth pains" in young horses. This condition actually occurs when the bone and cartilage in the joints of a young horse form incorrectly, causing the cartilage at the end of the bone to separate. This leads to an unneeded cartilage flap and inflammation of the joint. The joints that OCD most frequently affect are the hock, stifle, fetlock and shoulder.

Within this report you will learn about all the aspects of this common horse condition, including:

  • How OCD occurs
  • Signs of OCD
  • Causes of OCD
  • How OCD is diagnosed
  • Treatment of OCD
  • Prevention of OCD
  • Purchasing advice

Read expert insights on OCD, such as Dr. C. Wayne McIlwraith, the Barbara Cox Anthony University chair in orthopedics at Colorado State University, the leading researcher in equine joint problems.

Although severe cases cause obvious lameness, other minor cases can be hard to detect.

"In less severe cases, horses may go on to have an athletic career and only develop clinical signs when they're 3, 4 or 5," McIlwraith says.

Protect your horse and pocketbook with the FREE Young Horse Joint Health ebook. It will help you understand this condition so you can spot it before it becomes an issue. Treatment for OCD typically requires arthroscopic surgery. If left untreated, OCD can end a horse's athletic career.

Dr. Paul Edmonds of Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery of Weatherford, Texas, says

one of the earliest signs of OCD to watch for in young horses is joint swelling, caused by increased synovial fluid.

Young Horse Joint Health explains different factors that can cause this crippling condition, including:

  • genetic predisposition
  • fast growth and body size
  • nutritional imbalances
  • mechanical stress or trauma.

In this report, you'll learn about the studies pin-pointing these different causes.

McIlwraith breaks down OCD into understandable terms.

"I liken OCD to human heart disease. We all have various levels of genetic tendency toward heart disease. If we've got good genes, we can afford to be fat and lazy and not exercise. If we've got bad genes, even all the exercise and perfect diet in the world might not protect us," McIlwraith says.

The No. 1 prevention method is to make good use of a pre-purchase exam, including radiographs and X-rays of a horse's joints, before you buy him and bring him home.

"It's not in every horse, but I think it's out there enough that if I were a buyer and putting a lot of money into a horse, spending some money on taking the X-rays would be warranted," Edmond says.