When Joints Fail: Osteochondrosis

Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is an affliction, if left untreated, that can have long-term harmful effects on the young, growing horse as well as the performing or racing horse. OCD actually is a disease subset of osteochondrosis and

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Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is an affliction, if left untreated, that can have long-term harmful effects on the young, growing horse as well as the performing or racing horse. OCD actually is a disease subset of osteochondrosis and is classified under the umbrella term of developmental orthopedic disease.


Osteochondrosis affects the joint cartilage and also involves the subchondral bone just beneath the cartilage surface. Thus, we are, in a sense, faced with discussion of osteochondrosis, osteochondritis dissecans, and subchondral bone cysts.


To do this, one must find a way through a labyrinth of knowledge and speculation. This requires the services of sophisticated guides. To help show the way through the maze, we call on three experts from Colorado State University who have carried out a great deal of research and have written and spoken extensively on the subject. They are C. Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVS; Gayle W. Trotter, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS; and Gary Baxter, VMD, MS, Dipl. ACVS

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Les Sellnow was a prolific freelance writer based near Riverton, Wyoming. He specialized in articles on equine research, and operated a ranch where he raised horses and livestock. He authored several fiction and nonfiction books, including Understanding Equine Lameness and Understanding The Young Horse. He died in 2023.

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