OCD

By: Dr. Lydia Gray

What is it?

OCD stands for osteochondritis dissecans and, like osteochondrosis (OC), is a type of growth disturbance of horses that falls under the general heading Developmental Orthopedic Disease (DOD). Specifically the two terms refer to bone diseases of young horses in which cartilage fails to mature properly. Although the terms OCD and OC are often used interchangeably, osteochondritis dissecans is a more advanced form of osteochondrosis where the abnormal joint cartilage actually develops cracks and fissures. Abnormal cartilage that becomes loose in the joint is commonly referred to as "joint mice."

What can be done about it?

Bone growth disorders in young horses have many overlapping causes. Genetics, growth rate, type and amount of feed, excesses and deficiencies of nutrients, too much or too little exercise and other factors can all lead to abnormal development of cartilage and bone. Although high protein diets do not appear to be a factor, excess energy intake and improper amounts and ratios of minerals have been shown to affect the health of maturing bone and cartilage in horses through four years of age. However, because most joints, like the hock and stifle, "close" long before this, weaning is considered to be the "age of no return" for preventing OCD lesions.

What else do I need to know?

Sustained, modest growth rates in young horses are thought to minimize OCD-type lesions. Feeding for uniform weight gain throughout a young horse's life-especially through the critical weaning period-may reduce the chances of developmental orthopedic disease like osteochondritis dissecans. In addition, ensuring the appropriate calcium to phosphorus ratio and supplementing with copper during pregnancy may also help prevent OC, OCD and other growth disturbances.

About Dr. Lydia Gray

 

Have questions? Contact us »
Connect with us:

Mollie and Eden
I started riding when I was 9 years old and quickly got swept up into the competitive hunter/jumper world. I showed my first pony, Chloe, in the Small Pony Hunter divisions were we competed at shows like Fairfield Hunt Club, Old Salem, HITS, and West...

Learn more »

SmartPak Barn Field Trip, Part 2: Decoding hay and grain for horses
    Download the worksheet to test your knowledge! How much hay and grain does your horse get every day? How much SHOULD your horse be getting each day? Many horses may not be getting what your feed bag recommends,

Read More »

Download our mobile apps

Put SmartPak in your pocket with these awesome apps!

Check It Out »

Healthy horses, happy riders.
SmartPak is committed to a greener planet.
Sign Up Now!
Free Catalog Get Yours Now!

Questions? Call us Toll-Free at 1-800-461-8898.

SmartPak Equine™ is the premier online provider of horse supplies and equine supplements.
© Copyright by SmartPak Equine LLC. All Rights reserved.