OCD: Osteochondrisis Dissecans
It is both a genetic and nutritional problem for draft and standard breed horses
My Shock after I brought LadyGrace home!
December 2008 Interview • March 2009 Interview • June 2009 Interview • September 2009 Interview • June 2010 Interview
LadyGrace was about a week old when the breeder told me that she had a stifle problem (bone fragments called chips were floating in the stifle) in her left, hind leg. I was not told what happened until much later.
I was originally told by doctors that this was due to trauma (i.e., the mother kicked her - which I doubted. or she fell while running - which I firmly believed happened.) In fact, I asked the breeder on several occasions when it happened. Only recently did I find out through a friend, exactly when the accident happened. It was what I most suspected, she fell while under the care of the breeder according to my friend! That's what caused the bone chips in the stifle. I wish I had been there for LadyGrace.
One solution to the problem was surgery. Surgery was to have happened prior to her arrival at my place, but for personal concerns of mine for LadyGrace's safety and welfare, the original surgery was put off. I privately spoke with several doctors from Cornell that were involved with this case about my concerns regarding the safety and welfare of LadyGrace while she was at a different location. They were sympathetic, understanding and supportive about concerns.
I had also been admonished by the breeder and her friend, for not wanting to use someone closer. I finally found perfect surgeon much closer than a 4 hour trip, but the other parties were not cooperative. That's when I found Dr. Michael Ross who performed equine surgeries in Pine Bush, NY. A surgery was scheduled shortly after I brought LadyGrace home. Dr. Ross, a Nationally known Equine orthopedic surgeon (highly respected in his field) was to do the surgery.
After taking new x-rays it was found that LadyGrace not only had a stifle problems but Osteorchondrisis (OCD) in both hind hock areas. Which rendered an inoperable condition. Please read below for more information.
******************* VERY IMPORTANT*******************
(Read Dr. Ross's first evaluation about LadyGrace here: ocd-firstvisiteval.html. Then return to ocd.html for additional information and the interviews.) Dr. Ross said that he had never seen such a bad case of OCD in such a young horse! And, he is accustomed to performing OCD surgeries - generally on adult horses.
Needless to say - I was shocked. The main causes for OCD is both genetic and lack of proper nutrition during the mares pregnancy. I was sad for my beautiful horse as she may never be completely sound (as Dr. Ross put it). She will never be able to perform like other horses in an event, she cannot be ridden, she will need to be stall bound more than normal, and she should never be bred as she's a carrier of the gene!
Remember, this is not just a genetic problem, it is also a nutritional problem during the pregnancy.
NEWS FLASH: Just in from Dr. Geoff Tucker, DVM
"From my perspective, OCD and the related diseases including contracted tendons, epiphysitis, wobblers, and angular limb deformities are all genetically based with over nutrition as the factor that brings out the symptoms.
How fast the disease shows itself (if it shows at all), and how fast it progresses is based on the genetics of the individual as well as how much nutrition they are receiving. My thought is that if it progressed rapidly, then surgery would probably not have helped. Surgery may have missed the entire lesion (the good looking articular cartilage was defective but not so far as showing pathology at the time) and then your horse would have gone through a surgery without the desired results.
My mentor and advisor at Cornell undergrad was the equine nutritionist Dr Skip Hintz. He related it this way. A major soup company wanted to grow bigger chickens faster. So they developed a breeding program to attain this goal. What they succeeded to do was introduce OCD in their line of chickens which they were unable to breed out.
So we vets are asked to correct what is really a genetic problem. What we as horse owners can do is to understand the importance of genetics and over-nutrition in the development of OCD and correct our breeding and feeding programs."
About Dr. Tucker, DVM: Is "the owner of The Equine Practice, Inc. This site is dedicated to all horse owners who believe in equine dentistry, also known as floating horse teeth. I am a horse dentist that has, since 1983, hand floated over 41,000 horses. I have read about the new style of advanced dentistry, power dentistry, sedation dentistry, equilibration dentistry, and the like. I have attended meetings where I have had the opportunity to use power dental tools. As a veterinarian, I can convert from hand floating to power tools as well as sedating every horse. As a horseman, I don’t need to.
I float horse teeth the traditional way using natural horsemanship because it is time proven to be
effective and safe for your horse."
On the property where she lived before she came to my place, I was asked by several tennants why I would want to keep a DEFECTIVE BABY HORSE! I never thought of LadyGrace as defective. What a horrible term but it's a term that horse people use. In the Horse World, she was defective and that she came from a line which carries the defective gene. But in my eyes, she's not defective... only humans are defective for thinking that way. I do appreciate the fact that they were trying to protect me from major financial obligations incurred in a "defective baby horse." Somehow we will handle that but I love her more than she'll ever know. She has quite a personality and is so beautiful!
I also heard from a 2nd party after she arrived at my place that she, LadyGrace, would kill me by the time she was a year old. I guess they meant - kill me with love. Because that is what LadyGrace does!
All I want to do is love LadyGrace and will give her the best life she can possibly have. Presently she has a small paddock (She has a much larger paddock as we have 2 horses rather than 1) 'to "play in." (update: the paddock has been enlarged twice and she has another horse friend named Wisdom who is teaching her horse manners.) Luckily I'm able to give both horses 100% of my time as I work for myself. LadyGrace is also receiving some ground work training as I have a wonderful trainer - Jaffee Kindred.
After that first visit to Pine Bush Equine Hospital, I decided to interview Dr. Ross with each visit so YOU, the reader, can learn more about OCD and hear what one of the national top equine surgeons has to say. Please tap onto the interviews below to hear Dr. Ross speak. You will also hear Jaffee Kindred, my horse trainer, reassess what Dr. Ross has said.
Don't forget to read the first evaluation before listening to the interviews.
December 2008 Interview • March 2009 Interview • June 2009 Interview • September 2009 Interview
Below is what her hind legs look like now:
About Dr. Ross:
Dr. Michael Ross, DVM DACVS, Professor of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania eterinary Medicine.
He is also the Director of Nuclear Medicine at the New Bolton Center. "Nuclear scintigraphy at New Bolton Center dates from 1993 and makes Penn Vet among the earliest facilities to offer this form of imaging for large animals.
Dr. Michael Ross assumed primary responsibility for developing the facility at New Bolton Center and continues to interpret the studies." (http://www.vet.upenn.edu/WidenerHospital/SpecialtyCareServices/SportsMedicineImaging/NuclearMedicine.aspx)
About Jaffee Kindred:
Jaffee Kindred has been working with horses for the majority of her life. She knows them more than the average person. She's always open to learning more.
She has an Associate Degree in Equine Management, and has been trainer for quite a few years. Her love and understanding of horses is both unique and professional. She has been fully involved in every aspect of the horse business, training, etc. I feel honored having her as my horse trainer. With LadyGrace, she has taught her to walk with a lead line, back up, square up, and a few horse manners. There is a limit as to how much LadyGrace can be taught with all the problems she has but the small amout of training has been good for her. Her muscles are strong and healthy and her attitude is great.
In the 1st interview (don't forget to read the 1st written evaluation which was the first visit, not the first interview)you will hear Dr. Ross giving an exact definition of what Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) is. He is very familiar with this condition.
The gene MAY HAVE BEEN FOUND! PLEASE READ:
December 2008 Interviews.
Clear definition of Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) is by Dr. Ross:
December, 2008 Full interview with Dr. Ross and Jaffee Kindred
It is my greatest intention to find a solution to this and give LadyGrace the life she deserves!
Finally! There is HOPE for LadyGrace Listen to the March 5, 2009 interviews with Dr. Ross and Jaffee Kindred
June 2009 Interview - LadyGrace is holding her own.
For the first time she's been experiencing some pain but HOPE continues to be the operative word!
You'll hear LadyGrace in the background! Enjoy!
September 3, 2009 Interview with Dr. Ross and Jaffee Kindred - GOOD NEWS!
June 9, 2010 Interview with Dr. Ross and Jaffee Kindred -- SURPRISING NEWS!