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Equine Diseases

Equine OCD - Osteochondrosis


Equine OCD is an abbreviated title for Equine Osteochondrosis – a degenerative disease which is quite common.  Equine OCD is an inherent abnormality with the cartilage and bone.   This causes pieces of bone and cartilage to enter the joint space causing equine OCD.  Equine OCD which is very painful, can in time, lead to arthritis as a secondary condition.  Large horse breeds that grow rapidly are prone to developing equine OCD.

Symptoms of equine OCD

  • Stiffness,
  • lameness
  •  pain in the affected joint  - not common to all cases of equine OCD
  • The horse may use the leg in an outward stiff circular motion to avoid bending it. 


Causes of equine OCD

  • Genetic influences – a tendency with horses having spurts of fast growth
  • Dietary imbalance leading to excess weight
  • Too much exercise
  • Incorrect shoeing – make sure a reputable farrier is responsible for shoeing your horse

Treatment of equine OCD
Your vet will recommend some of all of the following for OCD:

  • Anti-Inflammatory and NSAIDS medication – administer strictly according to instructions
  • Cortisone, Pentosan polysulphate or visco supplementation injections
  • Hot and cold compress treatments – with caution.   The hot compress will temporarily reduce pain and discomfort of equine OCD and ease the painful joints by increasing circulation to the affected area.  However, do this cautiously and make sure it is not too hot –conversely, the cold compress will all ease equine OCD pain and swelling by blocking nerve impulses and restricting the blood vessels in the affected area.
  • Cutting down on the amount of exercise your horse takes
  • An equine OCD friendly diet – reducing your horse’s weight will help ease the pain of inflamed joints
  • Surgical procedure to remove the loose pieces of cartilage




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