Have a young foal with osteochondrosis? Don’t panic or put him under the corrective surgery knife just yet. A new study has shown that up to two-thirds of all radiographic findings in weanlings can change—usually for the better—within a year.

However, the lesions’ evolution can vary considerably according to where they’re located and what kind they are, researchers revealed.

Sandrine Jacquet, DMV, DESV BPLC, ISELP certified, researcher at the Centre d’Imagerie et de Recherche sur les Affections Locomotrices Equines (CIRALE) in Normandy, and colleagues recently completed a study on juvenile osteochondral condition (JOCC) lesion evolution as part of a larger research project—the Breeding, Osteochondral Status, and Athletic Career (BOSAC) program—headed by CIRALE director Jean-Marie Denoix, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVSMR.

In the study, Jacquet and colleagues examined 10 joint radiographs from each of 321 foals on 21 different breeding farms in Normandy at six months of age and again at 18 months of age. Thoroughbred racehorses, French Standardbred trotters, and Selle Français Warmbloods were the breeds represented in the study.

Then, the team compared the 6-month-old radiographs with the 18-month-old radiographs. None of the foals received treatment for their lesions during that 12 months, and the lesions were left to evolve naturally, Jacquet said.

Upon reviewing their results, the team found that only 32.3% of all radiographic findings in the 6-month-old weanlings were still identified in the 18-month-old yearlings, Jacquet said. In fact, nearly 50% of the radiographic findings had disa