Researchers have a better understanding of equine osteochondrosis and juvenile osteochondral conditions (JOCCs) now that a major project on the disorders has concluded and its results have been published in the Veterinary Journal.

JOCCs are lesions in young horses’ growing joints and bones that appear in various sites and have multiple causes, including genetics, nutrition, and external forces (such as pressure from exercise or injury). But because of the varying lesion sites, types, and causes, JOCCs are very complex and historically have been challenging for veterinarians and researchers to fully comprehend.

To combat that challenge, European equine orthopedic researchers teamed up to create a unique, multifaceted research program focused entirely on JOCCs. Members of the “Breeding, Osteochondral Status, and Athletic Career (BOSAC)” program investigated the growing skeletons of nearly 400 horses on more than 20 major breeding farms representing Thoroughbred racehorses, Standardbred trotting racehorses, and Warmblood riding horses in their standard breeding environments. Jean-Marie Denoix, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVSMR, director of the Centre d’Imagerie et de Recherche sur les Affections Locomotrices Equines in Normandy, France, initiated and headed the program. Paul René van Weeren, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECVS, professor in the department of equine sciences at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, co-authored the study conclusions.

“The big merit of this study is that it was a field study,” van Weeren told The