Feeding to Avoid Developmental Orthopedic Disease (DOD)

The way you feed young horses could help them develop strong, properly formed bones and joints.

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The way you feed young horses could help them develop strong, properly formed bones and joints

Developmental orthopedic disease (DOD) is a term coined in 1986 to describe all musculoskeletal problems in growing horses. These growth disturbances include physitis (inflammation of growth plates at the ends of the long bones), osteochondritis dissecans (OCD, a cartilage disorder characterized by the presence of large flaps of cartilage or loose cartilaginous bodies within a joint), subchondral bone cysts (saclike cavities in bone beneath the cartilage surface that are filled with fluid or soft material), and flexural limb deformities (contracted tendons).


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Heather Smith Thomas ranches with her husband near Salmon, Idaho, raising cattle and a few horses. She has a B.A. in English and history from University of Puget Sound (1966). She has raised and trained horses for 50 years, and has been writing freelance articles and books nearly that long, publishing 20 books and more than 9,000 articles for horse and livestock publications. Some of her books include Understanding Equine Hoof Care, The Horse Conformation Handbook, Care and Management of Horses, Storey’s Guide to Raising Horses and Storey’s Guide to Training Horses. Besides having her own blog, www.heathersmiththomas.blogspot.com, she writes a biweekly blog at https://insidestorey.blogspot.com that comes out on Tuesdays.

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