Growing Problems

Horse breeders have long known that problems can develop in the bones of young horses as they grow. The term developmental orthopedic disease (DOD) was coined in 1986 to encompass all orthopedic problems seen in the growing foal and has become
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Horse breeders have long known that problems can develop in the bones of young horses as they grow. The term developmental orthopedic disease (DOD) was coined in 1986 to encompass all orthopedic problems seen in the growing foal and has become a generally accepted term, says Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, DSc, FRCVS, Dipl. ACVS, director of orthopedic research at Colorado State University. Developmental orthopedic disease is a blanket term for various manifestations of limb abnormalities in young horses, but they all don’t have the same cause(s), and they might involve joints or growth plates rather than just bone, notes McIlwraith.

In this article, we will discuss some of the common developmental ailments of young horses, including osteochondrosis, bone cysts, and physitis. We will explain what these conditions are, what is thought to cause them, and what to do about them.

There are basically four causes of osteochondrosis, and affected horses usually have a combination of these:

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