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Hock OCD - Would You Walk?

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  • #21
    mvp I did some (online) research in preparation for vetting a 2 year old Hanoverian this summer.

    The summaries of studies I found by some of the European registries followed foals for 2 or 3 years. They were finding that a lot of OCDs resolve during growth, but OCDs in certain joints have a smaller chance of resolution. They also had some analysis of likely hood of finding OCD in the different joints. I think this is one of the articles I found useful.

    Also, I think there are OCDs in the stifle that are operable, you just need to verify with a surgeon it's location is accessible. The prognosis for OCDs in "good" locations is pretty good for future work.

    15 years ago I bought a yearling that had an OCD chip removed from his left hock, and at 2 years old he had both hocks done for additional findings - all in the upper joints. He's needed hock injections in the upper joints with HA since he was 10, but I can get more than a year out of them and the hocks haven't limited his work.

    For the 2 year old I bought this summer, I only had hocks and stifles imaged (very slight findings, nothing operable or concerning). I'm debating on imaging the stifles again this summer as OCDs in that joint can be totally non-symptomatic when you can still do surgery but can become symptomatic years later when it's too late to fix. Hocks and fetlocks I think often have swelling and/or lameness, and I believe elbows would have lameness as well.


    • #22
      If you consider the horse I would absolutely ask the buyer to provide a full set of X-rays, excluding joints you have already Xrayed. A horse with an OCD in one joint is at a higher risk to have an OCD in another joint. Since the horse needs the surgery anyway you might as well be sure that there isn't another joint that has an OCD that needs to be taken care of at the same time.

      SOP in some places is to do a full set of X-rays on every large breed young horse around 1-2 years to rule out OCDs and to get any necessary surgeries/rehabs done early, before joints are fully developed and before it is time for training to begin.


      • #23
        Hard pass.

        I was witness to several horses who had OCD problems. The two who had problems in a joint managed to get some training in but by the time they got around to real work and jumping they went lame. And I mean LAME. One was put down, another ended up a pasture pet at at 7 or so. The third had it in so many joints it was put down before getting broke and the fourth had it in a canon bone I think. It managed to course around 3' for a year or two and then bumped down to the 2'6" for most of its life.

        long story short, theres a lot of horses out there. Its hard enough to keep them sound without starting off with a major genetic/degenerative problem.


        • #24
          I vetted a very young horse (weanling) a few months ago who showed OCD lesions in both hocks (on the DIRT region - the distal intermediate ridge of the tibia). I didn't proceed with x-raying further joints until I spoke to my own vet. Anecdotal wisdom told me that in a few months time the lesions might not appear (ie, may resolve on their own), PPE Vet told me not to count on that and to plan to have to keep an eye on them, my own vet told me he would recommend surgery, and the consulting surgeon said "excellent prognosis, do both hocks around 18mos of age".

          I passed. Way way way too many variables, and if I know I am going to have to lay out that $$ for surgery, I'd honestly rather add it to my purchase budget and look at higher quality animals (fairly low budget, the additional ~5k for surgery would make a difference).

          My coach bought her horse - now 10 - as a 4yo. She started him for his owner at 3, and he was never off nor did he show any effusion. The OCD was discovered in one joint during the PPE. Owner opted to do the surgery, coach bought him, he's done well ever since.

          So it's not necessarily a deal breaker for me - but personally with NO history or a history of light work and already showing effusion, I would be inclined to pass - especially with the location of the lesions on the upper joints and not knowing (I think I read that right?) whether there are lesions in other joints - stifle, fetlock, etc.)