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Hock OCD - Would You Walk?

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  • Hock OCD - Would You Walk?

    Keeping this a bit vague for privacy, but PPE'd a horse (WB cross) that is coming 3 this spring. Gelding, started lunging and been sat on once, but otherwise, has mainly been left to grow (other than handling/farrier/vaccines etc.). He is big boned, 16hh already.

    Key observations - some effusion in both hocks, right slightly more so than left. PPE vet (not my usual vet), said he flexed sound, but I did notice he crossed right hind more underneath himself after flexions. On lunge (keeping in mind he is baby green on lunge), he struggled to hold left lead canter (more so than right). Stifles a bit loose per vet (not really a concern on their own based on his age/size).

    OCD chip on right hock (upper joint). Nothing on left. Paused exam at this stage to confer with my own vet.

    I'm not as educated as I'd like to be on OCD. I am shopping for a jumper/eventer (1m-1.10m jumpers, low level eventing).

    PPE vet suggested he would need surgery earlier on to remove. My vet mentioned could maybe wait to see if it presents a problem when he starts working (but she had not yet seen x-rays, which I have now sent over).

    What has been your experience with hock OCD in young horses? Educate me.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Pass. You'll find another.

    Comment


    • #3
      Second pass, **especially** in the upper hock joint.

      Comment


      • #4
        I had one with OCD in the upper joints that had surgery at 1 and 2 years old. He needed hock injections in the upper joints starting about 10 years old, but we could get more than year out of them and had good results with Osphos. He worked hard most of his life, placed at regional champs at every level he went, got me all my scores for my USDF medals except GP, and can do all of the GP. Other issues/ injuries have limited his work now at 16, not his hocks.

        If you can negotiate on price to cover surgery, and his stifles image clean, I'd consider it for a keeper horse. If he's a resale horse, I'd probably pass.

        Comment


        • #5
          I bought one at the same age with an OCD in his hock. Mitigating factors: OCD wasn't on a weight bearing surface, horse had been in work appropriate to his age with no lameness or effusion, We got several opinions on the surgery and all agreed he would be totally fine if he had it, but I decided to pass since all agreed it was only to make the xrays look good. I bought the horse from my trainer who I trust with a rather elaborate financial agreement that covered all the contingencies I could think of. I got a consideration on the price. Two plus years later and he has never been lame regardless of level of work, and he was worked and shown quite a bit last year. But he is a dressage type, not doing any jumping.

          All that being said, I think I got lucky. I love this horse and was willing to take a risk. Probably would have passed if all of the above had not been true.

          Comment


          • #6
            Pass. The upper joint is the most mobile of the joints of the hock - on a lower joint with less actual movement I would probably be less concerned. But if it's the tibiotarsal joint and he's already got swelling, that's a nope for me.

            He's young and already big. That increases my level of concern - big horse means more stress on joints. If he's approaching 3yo, already 16hh AND has known potential issue with a major joint, it's an easy pass for me.
            Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.

            Comment


            • #7
              Pass. Seller can do the surgery. You won't know until he's in actual work if or how much it will bother him. Unless you have a place and the deep pockets to support a very large pasture pet if it doesn't work out. If there is effusion, it sounds like they might already bother him. If you do continue to pursue buying him, I hope you x-ray other joints like the stifles. But me, I'd pass, there will be others.

              Comment


              • #8
                Three years old is very young to have changes in the hocks. I would pass.
                "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

                Comment


                • #9
                  Pass. He already has effusion on the joint with low work, and he should probably have the surgery. The upper joints are not where I want to see any problems. Given age and size he could have other OCDs which to look for might require doing a lot more X-rays than you planned. It might work out but it will require investing money and taking on a significant risk. Given your goals to event, pass.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You cannot determine if this horse is a pass or not without having an experienced veterinarian seeing the films and evaluate the specifics, such as size, type, and location of the lesion.

                    OCD is present in a significant percentage of large breed horses. In many instances it is either a non-issue (cosmetic Xray issue) or easily correctible with surgery. Alternatively, the size and location of the lesion might make it highly likely that it will cause a problem. Depending on the type and location of the lesion, there can be a big difference in prognosis.

                    I'm not thrilled by the fact that the horse already has an effusion in the hocks, but frankly, that's likely more of a cosmetic issue. I'm also not thrilled about doing OCD surgery at 3, we usually do it earlier, but depending on the lesion that might or might not be an issue--something to add to your list of questions.

                    If I were in your shoes, I would consult with an experienced vet at one of the major equine veterinary hospitals who deals with OCDs as part of their daily practice. If that vet felt positively about the situation, I would consider either 1) purchasing the horse at a discount as is (if the lesion did not require surgery) or 2) having the seller have the surgery completed and agree to purchase after it had recovered uneventfully, again, at a discount.

                    Based on the opinion of an expert vet and depending on what exactly you are looking for, this could be an opportunity to purchase a nice prospect at a very reasonable price. If you are looking for a quick resale project, then I would pass. In terms of resale once the horse is, let's say, 8 or 9 and in work / showing successfully and sound, no one is going to care that the horse had OCD surgery as a three year old or that it's hocks are slightly boggy.

                    Oh, and I'm completely NOT worried about a 3 yo WB not being able to hold his leads on the lunge line.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thank you all for your thoughts and experiences. My vet clinic does a number of these surgeries, so I feel comfortable with their assessment, but could certainly approach others for another opinion.

                      I'm not looking for a resale, but as you can never know where life will take you, I'd like that door open - but it would be down the road a number of years, if at all.

                      Both vets suggest that it likely it will need surgery as he comes into actual work down the road, but obviously impossible to say for certain. They both agree that it would be better to remove earlier versus waiting until it became a true problem or he was in more work. Total agreement with those that mentioned if I wanted to proceed, further x-rays of additional joints would be on the to-do list. Stifles were next on my list, but as mentioned, I paused to consult.

                      I was not concerned about the canter on the lunge based on age and level of training, but thought it worth mentioning.

                      What I have determined after much thought, is that I'm not super enthused about the idea of surgery and rehab pretty well right off the bat. Having done my fair share of rehab on my other gelding, I'd like to at least try and start off with a horse I can enjoy and work with. I'm not blessed with keeping my horses at home, so maybe more risk-averse than if I had that option (and yes, I realize any horse can do some other career-ending injury or whatnot, but again, hope to try and start off right haha!).

                      I have considered seeing if seller would consider surgery and rehab and purchasing after, but again, I'd want to revisit stifle x-rays first and going that route means pausing while the procedure and rehab is completed. I'm not rushing to buy, but that does lock me in to waiting on the outcome.

                      Thanks to all so far that have responded. I feel like I've kind of come to a decision, but always open to other feedback or experiences so I can keep learning.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Willesdon View Post
                        Three years old is very young to have changes in the hocks. I would pass.
                        I don't think "OCD" and "changes in the hocks" mean the same thing.

                        OP, I'd be leery of an OC in the upper (more mobile) joint. But a DIRT lesion (that acronym comes from the letters of the opposing bones, I think) is less of a big deal.

                        Your vet did not give you definitive advice?

                        ETA-- and on the basis of finding OCD in the hocks, I'd x-ray the stifles, both of 'em. As I understand it, OCD lesions there show up later. And I think you really don't want OCD lesions in that joint.
                        The armchair saddler
                        Politically Pro-Cat

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          For that age of a horse, it isn't clear whether this bothers him or not yet. so i would walk away. if he was 8 in full work, i would probably not be bothered by it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mvp View Post

                            I don't think "OCD" and "changes in the hocks" mean the same thing.

                            OP, I'd be leery of an OC in the upper (more mobile) joint. But a DIRT lesion (that acronym comes from the letters of the opposing bones, I think) is less of a big deal.

                            Your vet did not give you definitive advice?

                            ETA-- and on the basis of finding OCD in the hocks, I'd x-ray the stifles, both of 'em. As I understand it, OCD lesions there show up later. And I think you really don't want OCD lesions in that joint.
                            I'd image pretty much all the joints before moving forward on this horse. My Westfalian mare had an OCD in her coffin joint on a front, which just happened to be caught in a fetlock view. Then there are knees where they can occur too. I went ahead and took her because her hock and stifle views were perfectly clean. I read somewhere that like 60% of the hanos going to sale get a hock or stifle OCD removed, so my reasoning was that it was better to go with a horse that was clean in those joints, and had an operable chip, rather than vetting more horses and potentially wasting more money on x-rays only to find more horses with OCDs.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Totally walk, unless you're getting the deal of a century and can afford to take a gamble.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Definite no. Plenty of horses have OCD chips removed and do perfectly fine, but a few don't. You won't know where this horse falls until the chip is out and the horse is in full work. Given that there is already effusion, you don't know what if any damage to the cartilage and supporting tissue has already been done.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The age makes it a no.
                                  Eight to 14 in full work with some “stuff” on films, a whole different ball game.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thanks everyone. I have passed. Quite disappointed as I really liked this horse otherwise, but there were just a few too many unknowns, and I'm not a big risk-taker admittedly. I've no doubt he'll make someone an amazing horse, but the search continues for me.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by outerbanks77 View Post

                                      I'd image pretty much all the joints before moving forward on this horse. My Westfalian mare had an OCD in her coffin joint on a front, which just happened to be caught in a fetlock view. Then there are knees where they can occur too. I went ahead and took her because her hock and stifle views were perfectly clean. I read somewhere that like 60% of the hanos going to sale get a hock or stifle OCD removed, so my reasoning was that it was better to go with a horse that was clean in those joints, and had an operable chip, rather than vetting more horses and potentially wasting more money on x-rays only to find more horses with OCDs.
                                      Ooh, you sound like you have been around the OCD block. Can I ask some questions, please?

                                      1. You think some OCD lesions in the stifle are operable? My understanding was that stifle OCD would either cause no lameness at all or, if in the wrong place, would really not have an effective solution.

                                      2. That 60% number sound high. What that means is either that the problem is very common in that well-respected breed (and that there's lots more heritable lameness in it than we Americans or non-experts think) OR that there is a greater percentage of OCD lesions found in various joints and parts of them that are immaterial. Which do you think this statistic means?
                                      The armchair saddler
                                      Politically Pro-Cat

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by mvp View Post

                                        Ooh, you sound like you have been around the OCD block. Can I ask some questions, please?

                                        1. You think some OCD lesions in the stifle are operable? My understanding was that stifle OCD would either cause no lameness at all or, if in the wrong place, would really not have an effective solution.

                                        2. That 60% number sound high. What that means is either that the problem is very common in that well-respected breed (and that there's lots more heritable lameness in it than we Americans or non-experts think) OR that there is a greater percentage of OCD lesions found in various joints and parts of them that are immaterial. Which do you think this statistic means?
                                        I don't have any experience with stifle OCD personally. There is a horse at my barn whose sale fell through because they found one during the PPE. He has had some intermittent issues that may be related, but he's working sound at second level several years later (I think he was about 7 when they found it, and he's 12 or so now). It just happened that I'd read that statistic - it really was hearsay from a European vet, so who knows how true it is. I had also just after looked at a Trakehner who had had OCD surgery on a front fetlock. When I tried him, they disclosed that he had an inoperable cyst on a rear fetlock, so needless to say I passed on that. So 60% didn't seem far-fetched to me at the time, and both my vet and the PPE vet, who was locally well-respected and a certified surgeon agreed that her particular OCD would not be a problem to remove.

                                        I had to cut my previous post short to get to an appointment, but I was going to add for the OP that my mare had surgery at the end of May in her 3 year old year, and she was slightly off the whole summer. She was allowed normal turnout after two weeks, but it was September by the time I really felt that she was comfortable enough to go back into normal training, and we did follow up with a PRP treatment about two months post-surgery (so another $600). Not only did it cut into months where I could have been getting her started, but it was kind of stressful waiting so long for her to come sound. If a horse is already under saddle, that is a lot of lost time that should be figured into any price change, along with the actual surgery cost.

                                        Comment

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