Equine Osteochondrosis Terminology Revamped

A better understanding of the lesions found in growing horse skeletons has led to clearer terminology.

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If you’ve ever been confused by the differences between osteochondrosis and osteochondritis dissecans, or wondered whether these are the same as developmental orthopedic disease (DOD) or just examples of it, you’re not alone. For decades, diseases of the bones, joints, and cartilage in young horses have sparked many word-slinging debates among researchers.

But as science leads to better understanding of what the various lesions in growing horse skeletons are, and how they get there, researchers are finally coming up with clearer terminology for them. French equine orthopedics researcher Jean-Marie Denoix, DVM, PhD, professor and director of the Centre d’Imagerie et de Recherche sur les Affections Locomotrices Equines in Normandy, has created a new naming path in an effort to clarify bone diseases in young horses.

Deniox said the new terminology will not only lead to better communication among the people working with these horses, but also help researchers and clinicians collaborate as they strive to better understand the disease, its prevention, and its treatment.

Juvenile osteochondral condition (JOCC) is the new term that now regroups “those developmental disorders that are related to the immature joints or growth plates,” Deniox stated. “JOCC does not replace DOD or osteochondritis dissecans,” however. All three terms are useful and now have clearer, more distinct definitions, he noted

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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