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I've just got this guy, and I absolutely love him, but the farrier pointed out something today that I hadn't previously considered as a possibility. I had spent a lot of time looking at his pasterns and debating if they were going to be a problem as they are very visibly sloped, however the vet didn't mention anything and only cleared him as being sound for the type of riding I want to do (trails and light arena riding.)

It was suggested that he might have desmitis. I was told by his previous owners and explained by the vet that he has long sloping pasterns, which I was able to recognize on my own, but is it a conformational error or DSLD? I was wondering if anyone with experience in the subject would be able to give some more insight, as I'm stuck in a hard place of my vet's word against the farrier's.

He's a five year old gypsy/friesian
In many pictures the sloping isn't even noticeable, so I wonder if it's conditional rather than genetic. He does tend to stumble now and again, and his trot is a little disjointed but that could be caused by an old calcification on his knee.
(Please forgive me if any of this is confusing, I am not very versed in horse health issues)







 

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Can't really tell from pictures alone, although that bottom picture esp is worrisome to me
He is not a breed where DSLD is common, although any horse can develop it, and I also find a lot of draft type breeds seem to have that broken back pastern axis

I am sure you have googled DSLD,and know there are diagnostic tests now, but in case you have not, here is alink.

Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Disease (DSLD, ESPA) - David W. Ramey, DVM
 

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he looks to be barefoot, no?

the horse I ride has a rather flat pastern in front. I wondered about that degenerative disease on him, but I think it is just a conformational thing, as it has not progressed at all in 3 years.

in fact, improved trimming/shoeing has reduced this. it is a matter of bringing the heel down , letting it open as much as possible, and keeping the breakover short. but, mostly, keeping the heels short.

Mammal Horse Vertebrate Mane Mare


Horse Vertebrate Mammal Pony Pasture


Horse Grazing Grass Colt Foal
 

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Hi;

Can you get another Veterinarian out for a second opinion? Really cute horse. Your horse is also very cute Tiny.
 

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I hesitate to give an opinion based on just those pics but his legs are concerning. I also wonder how much of a trick all those feathers are playing on our eyes? They go all the way to the ground, so your eye also wants to think that he's sloped way back and looks DSLD ish. The bottom pic is the most concerning to me too.
 

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It would help if his feathers were clipped. My mare has DSLD and so does my friend's Paso. Look for swelling in the ankles along with dropping. It does look like DSLD...

The grey horse tiny posted does not look like DSLD.

With DSLD the horse becomes very post legged behind, as the condition worsens. You can almost draw a straight line from the back of the hocks to the ankles.

There is no treatment, but light exercise is helpful. Walk/trot only. My old mare is only ridden at a slow walk for up to 40 minutes. No more than that. Now that does not stop her from tearing around the paddock like a complete idiot if she feels too good. This is the main reason why I have not fully retired her. She will do more harm to herself, if left by herself, than with a rider.

Light exercise is beneficial. No exercise will cause the condition to worsen. Avoid stall rest.

My friend's pony has remained mostly sound, despite the enlargement of his ankles. I believe secondary arthritis and ringbone are a compounding factor. With the dropped ankles, you will develop arthritis eventually.

Horses with the condition may remain sound for several years, or decline very quickly.

I recommend a Copper/zinc supplement and avoid excess iron (iron overload). Studies in llamas have suggested that a deficiency in Cu/zn may cause a similar condition.

My mare has had the condition for years, so for her it is not an immediate death sentence. It really depends on how willing the owner is to manage a horse with limitations.

The disease is not limited to Paso Finos. I believe it has now been documented in most breeds. It is very difficult to remove the defect from the gene pool, as it often presents later in life, after a horse has already had several foals. With my mare she showed some minor lameness at 17 yrs old, but not until her 20's did we get a correct diagnosis.

I do wonder if horses that present with tendon/ligament problems early in life, will eventually develop the disease later on.
 

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I believe latest info on DSLD, as per link that I posted, now has shown that DSLD is a systemic disease that affects the ligaments, and not just in the legs

'DSLD isn’t a problem that’s limited to the suspensory ligament. It’s a disease of the whole horse, a systemic disorder that involves tissues and organs that are made up of a kind of tissue called connective tissue. Connective tissue is tough tissue that connects, supports, binds, or separates other tissues or organs; examples include tendons and ligaments, but also the tough membrane that surrounds muscle cells (and is hard to chew if you find some in your steak). In DSLD, the problem isn’t with the fibers of the ligament itself, rather, it’s an abnormal accumulation of substances called proteoglycans between the fibers of the

horse_animation
A horse with healthy proteoglycans - you're not interested in the chemical structure, trust me
affected tissues. Proteoglycans are a sugar-protein complex that is normally found between cells and provides structural support; in DSLD, there’s just too much of an otherwise good thing. In fact, since it’s not just the suspensory ligament that’s the problem – may other tendons and ligaments besides just the suspensory ligament are involved – it’s been proposed that the disease be called equine systemic proteoglycan accumulation (ESPA), as opposed to DSLD.
 

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He has certainly has slack pasterns. Whether it is because of a conformation fault or DSLD, you need to get a second opinion from an QUALITY VET and an ultrasound, and perhaps further testing.

I have had two horses develop DSLD, both were not breeds that tend towards it. It is a devastating disease.
 

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Those feathers are beautiful but they don't help be able to see what's going on well. And the pics need to be taken squarely from the side, down near ground level, like for hoof pics... of which I'd like to see, if you can tape his feathers up out of the way. Agree the last pic looks a bit worrying, but if his hoof balance - or lack of - is greatly contributing, that can be dealt with at least. See link in my signature for how to take hoof pics.
 

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The TWH I purchased a year ago has pasterns like that - I also asked my vet about DSLD and she passed sound at her PPE. Not that she may not develop it at a later date.

To me the hoof shape (I call it cup shaped) tends to be an early indicator of pastern issues - and this horse most definitely has cup shaped hooves.
 
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