OCD... is there ANYTHING that I might have done to cause this? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 10-19-2012, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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OCD... is there ANYTHING that I might have done to cause this?

So long story short the vet thinks my filly might have OsteoChondrosis Dessicans. I have had this horse for a couple of months now, and she has been lame on and off since the end of the first two weeks. I have thought alternately that it was different issues that I could deal with without vet intervention so it took until today for her to actually see a vet.

First I thought thrush and greasy heel, because she had both when the lameness showed up, but both cleared up. She went sound for a few days then was lame again with no sign of either.

Then we discovered she had an extremely sore hamstring - the leg she was lame on - and it took us a few days to be able to massage it beyond the very very light touch of bowen without her kicking out and moving away. She's not a kicker. She came good again, then went lame again.

With no sign of what might be causing this, we thought, let's confine her and see what happens. Again we got a few days of sound horse, then the neighbours started up their trailbikes, she started bolting around the round pen, and went lame again.

Back in the pasture. A few days later we had a sound horse. A few days later again, she was horribly lame again. This time she had some swelling on the achilles tendon on that leg (NOT the suspensory, the achilles - the one above the hock) so the vet was called because we thought it was the tendon, and the horse was put on box rest. Neighbours talked to and hopefully this time the trailbikes will be kept quiet until she is out - or at least kept only to the little quiet ones that don't bother her. Neighbour's teenage sons have big noisy bikes you can hear 5 properties down the road and THOSE are terrifying, but the kidlets have quiet bikes, and they're ok.

Vet was out today, said it's not her tendon, and with her age, breed and height, there is the distinct possibility it might be OCD. Given how it is presenting (today she trotted up sound then on flexion tests went lame - occurring in BOTH hind legs, no sign of hoof soreness when the testers were applied, no swelling or heat on hocks/fetlocks) that possibility is even stronger.

There is a little bit of swelling on the stifle of her worse leg, and the vet thought the "tendon" swelling I was seeing could possibly have been because gravity was drawing the fluid away from the stifle. That makes sense upon thinking because I just remembered, Magic had a "swollen" front and inner hock for a few days partway through the thrush/greasy heel saga.

I have a plan of action from my vet so I pretty much know where I'm going with treatment, this vet is a VERY good vet trained at a VERY good equine hospital and is a specialist in lameness so as far as I'm concerned her word is law.

What I want to know and forgot to ask is, is there ANYTHING that I might have done in the course of this saga to cause the problem or make it worse?


Last edited by blue eyed pony; 10-19-2012 at 01:01 PM.
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post #2 of 14 Old 10-19-2012, 03:25 PM
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What's her diet and turnout schedule? Whose are the two things you can influence.
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post #3 of 14 Old 10-19-2012, 03:49 PM
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What is the age and breed of this horse? What care had she had previously? Probably not good, considering she had problems when you bought her. Did you have a pre vet exam, before purchase? Have you changed her feed drastically?

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post #4 of 14 Old 10-19-2012, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Turnout 24/7 plenty of roughage and good quality grower pellets. Mineral suppliments when she deigns to eat them, sunflower seeds which she loves, and more recently a very expensive hindgut PH balancing grain-free pellet.

She's a 2yo TB. No PPE because she was a nightmare to catch back then and I figured a 2yo unbroke unraced TB wouldn't be likely to have issues I couldn't see. Plus she was "free" - would have spent the money on a PPE had she been actually worth anything (honestly with her issues you couldn't have PAID some people to take her on) but I figured I could learn from her and the money spent would be worth it for the learning. So far, definitely has been. I didn't know OCD was an issue in TB's, knew about the warmbloods but not the TB's.

She is a BIG girl, 16.1-ish already and her knees are still wide open, so open you can tell just by looking at her, and she's all leg at the moment. So her size definitely has a factor to play in this.

Before I got her she was on pasture and hay, nothing else as far as I know as she is very submissive with other horses and she couldn't be caught to bring her in to feed (she WAS eased into it, but refused to eat her hay the first few days she was here, and was in the round pen with nothing else available). Very good hoof care though as previous owner is a farrier and in high demand.

I have no idea whether her teeth have been done prior to today but they weren't bad, much better than the other youngen I had whose first experience with the dentist was at just 7 months of age!

Magic DID go over the round pen fence not long after I got her and I was petrified she might have injured herself but this didn't present until long enough afterwards that I don't think that episode has caused it... plus vet doesn't seem to think it's an injury at all and as I say she's very very good.

From what I saw of her at previous owner's place she was totally sound there, though I didn't see much - just, when she trotted, she floated. She doesn't float here even when she's not visibly limping.

She went from hills to flat coming here. We have a lot of limestone which in theory offsets the small amount of kikuyu grass we have here (mostly we have wild oats and rye and such like but kike IS there and kike binds calcium - limestone puts out large amounts of calcium into the soil and therefore into the grass), but I'm not totally sure on that one... and our land is magnesium deficient, and though I've been trying to suppliment her magnesium, she's a bit of a suspicious eater and there are things she just won't eat.


Last edited by blue eyed pony; 10-19-2012 at 04:24 PM.
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-19-2012, 04:41 PM
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this is off topic and i apologize but how do you have your ground and grass tested? who does it? i have asked and asked around here but people think im being stupid. i only buy hay that has already been tested and the people i buy from are not in my state.
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-19-2012, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Oh we don't - there are certain plants that grow copiously in soil that is deficient in certain things. Flatweed grows in magnesium deficient soil, as does onion grass (also called guildford grass; I'm talking about Aussie plants but I don't think they're native) - both of which cause problems in horses, so it's best to fix the soil if you can, but if you can't, supplimenting the deficient minerals is very important.

We also know through process of elimination - we moved here from a suburban house, and our horses from private boarding [we were the only boarders, was amazing, full DIY but that suits me just fine] to here. First thing we noticed was more onion grass and more flatweed. Horses' coats went rank and they all got really nervy and snorty. We supplimented their magnesium, and they got shiny again and chilled out.

Other than knowing what plants grow in what soil conditions, it's really important to know what plants bind essential nutrients so the horse can't access them as easily. If you suppliment what your pasture grasses, and any weeds, might bind, your horse is more likely to have a balanced diet. Our horses look fantastic when they're being fed - the ponies and my gelding aren't at the moment because they're way too fat, and guess whose coat is nicest? Magic's. The one horse that's getting the vitamins and minerals she needs.

edit; and I should really be feeding a toxin binder because this year we have a stupid amount of cape weed, which is poisonous to horses in large quantities. A trip to the stockfeeder to get said binder is on the cards.


Last edited by blue eyed pony; 10-19-2012 at 04:56 PM.
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-19-2012, 09:53 PM
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First -- I think you need good x-rays to see just what kind of lesions you have. You cannot 'guess' what is in there.

You do see OCD more often in over-fed horses that have grown too fast. There is also a genetic link with it. Horses do not inherit it, but they sure inherit the tendency to get it if they are pushed too hard and fast.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-21-2012, 04:38 AM Thread Starter
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x-rays are part of the plan of action, Cherie, but the vet wants to give her a few weeks' box rest first.

I haven't had her long enough for over-feeding on MY part to have caused it, and as far as I know her sire hasn't thrown anything else with the same issue [commercial TB stud stallion, so he's had a few babies!]. Full brother is racing and apparently doing well, so it's unlikely to be her dam. Magic DOES have a pretty big body for her age according to people I have spoken to who have seen many many young TB's.

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post #9 of 14 Old 10-22-2012, 09:58 AM
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Short answer, NO! you didn't do anything. There are lots and lots of theories on OCD but there has not been any strong conclusive evidence from a good scientific study that diet or turn out schedules or any kind of husbandry directly influences OCD formation. There is some suggestion that overfeeding or overuse can worsen OCD lesions but there is pretty strong evidence that these horses would have developed the lesions anyway, just perhaps a little later in life as there is a strongly inheritable component to the disease. So don't be too hard on yourself.

However, 100% with Cherie on getting X-rays and you should do it sooner than later if you think surgery is any option for you. If it is OCD, surgery is the only thing that will get you the best possible results and the longer you leave that mushy bone in there, the more damage can be done to what you hope will be a healthy surface after removing the OCD lesion.
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-22-2012, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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I'm so glad it's not my fault.

I talked to the vet today and she doesn't think it's really urgent, if madam is on box rest and not moving around too much we "aren't likely to do any further damage" by waiting. But doing more damage is not why I want them done ASAP! I want to have x-rays done to find out how bad it is BEFORE I spend a fortune on 2 months of box rest for a horse it may not even help.

That being said the box rest has drastically improved the way she holds her hind legs. She's not as badly toe-out now [that is a symptom, she was straight when I took her on and then went wonky when she went lame]... I think what she was doing was turning her hind legs outwards to relieve the pressure on her stifles? Vet seems to think that's the case too. She's not lame at present and she's coping surprisingly well with confinement. I expected her to be well and truly stir-crazy by now, but in actual fact it seems to be settling her down and her handling issues are vastly improved on what they were this time last week.

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