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Home:Equine Diseases: Equine Osteochondrosis (OCD)

Equine Diseases

Equine OCD - Osteochondrosis


Equine Osteochondrosis is the correct form of the more commonly used form Equine OCD. Equine OCD is an equine degenerative disease considered to have a heavy genetic bearing and affecting, for the most part, the larger breeds of equine who have inherited a genetic trait of rapid growth .

Equine OCD is a condition in which fragments of bone and cartilage, normally at the ends of long bones, break loose and lodge themselves in the joint space of the foot, causing equine OCD.  OCD is a very painful condition causing lameness and sometimes leads to equine arthritis at a later stage.  


The symptoms of equine OCD


lameness and stiffness in the affected joints, pain in some cases, and using a leg in an outward circular motion to avoid the pain involved in bending the joint affected by OCD.


The causes of equine OCD


These can start with genetic influences, particularly with horses that have fast growth spurts, excess weight, overexertion or incorrect shoeing.

You should call your equine clinic to oversee the treatment of equine OCD.   Hot and cold equine therapy may well be prescribed to reduce OCD pain by increasing circulation to the affected area. 

Heat therapy should be treated with caution as the area suffering from OCD will already be inflamed and the correct application of heat is important.  

Cold treatment will ease the pain by restricting blood vessels and blocking nerve impulses in the affected areas. 
You may be advised to limit the amount of exercise or work your horse does ease OCD.

Diet will also be examined and an equine OCD recommended diet introduced to cut intake and balance the amount of food ingested.

Equine medication in the form of anti-inflammatories and NSAIDS may be prescribed for relief of OCD, as may injections of cortisone, pentosan polysulphate or visco supplementation injections

If none of the above is successful, an equine surgical procedure may be carried out to remove the loose pieces of cartilage.