Seeking info about osteo-condri-something-something, horse/healthgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
The vet was here today to geld both our recent rescues...the auction colt (Lio) and the starved club-foot colt (Job). He gave me some upsetting news that I was not expecting at all. Lio, the Belgian, has fluid on both stifles. (Patellas?) Doc asked me if I couldn't see the lameness, and in all honesty, I can't! But it was quite evident to his trained eye. Says it is likely the osteo-something (medical term). Says also that Lio will likely develop arthritis. When I asked if our boy would be able to do any work, of any sort, he said don't count on it. Now, I can feel the fluid that he's talking about. It's a squishy-mushy area on the kneecap. One leg is worse than the other. But I have never, ever seen Lio favor either leg, and I see him run & romp in the pasture with no sign of lameness at all. How is it that a one-year old horse can be deemed permanently unsound by the vet, when I, his ridiculously over-attentive owner, can't even see the slightest limp? Please share your thoughts & knowledge about this condition. Many thanks.
-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (email@example.com), April 17, 2002
Shannon, You probably answered your own question. As a yearling he is not working. He is playing in the pasture but not required to bear extra weight, etc. Arthritis develops alot in older horses. Depending on what your intentions are he could still be used for light purposes. Did the vet give you any treatment options? What about glycosimine? It is a joint supplement. What about cunsulting with your farrier? Are there different shoeing options that might reduce the stress on the knees? I wouldnt rule out any possibilites.
-- tracy (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 17, 2002.
Does this look like what the vet described/said: Osteochondrosis , http://www.usyd.edu.au/su/rirdc/articles/musculo/ocd.htm Osteochondrosis is a term given to abnormal development of cartilage in different joints such as the knee, fetlock, hock and stifle of young growing horses.
If this is what you think your horse has, then I can see if there is more info. on it.
-- BC (email@example.com), April 17, 2002.
Lameness can be hard to detect if you are not really looking. I've seen so many horses that I think are lame, but other folks tell me they are just fine. Many times is you trot them on a hard serface (like pavement) or sometime making them walk up or down hills you can really detect it. Sometimes young horses can develope problems due to rich feed & fast growth. I wonder if limiting his diet to mostly good grass hay and very little grain or alfalfa might help prevent further damage. I find my foals and broodmares do very well on a diet like this with very minimal amounts of suppliments. Ask you vet about it.
-- ellie (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 17, 2002.
I was thinking about Lio and Job this morning wondering how they were doing.
Was the term Osteochondrosis? If it is, Osteochondrosis of the stifle is not a good thing. It's one of the hardest lamenesses to treat. It usually occurs because of a nutritional imbalance involving calcium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc. Treatment is conservative with no grain being the primary thing. It's quite easy to miss a dx like this in the beginning, symptoms can be as minor as a shortened stride, or bilateral stifle stiffness.
Sorry to hear about Lio.
Stacy in NY
-- Stacy (KincoraFarm@aol.com), April 17, 2002.
I'm very much with Elnora on grass hay diets. Our regular hay man delivered pure alfalfa to the barn, and instead of turning it back and insisting on grass hay, they took it -- and fed it to the horses. This is part of why I really hate not being in full control of my horse's -- I've now got a foundered horse who never ever had a bout of laminitis in her life (19 now).
When your vet says that the horse will likely develop arthritis, that is almost a given with large breeds and horses that live long enough, it seems to me. He may have been saying that he is a candidate for early arthritis, and as mentioned, it will be most obvious working on hard surfaces than out on soft pasture land. We often hang over the rail with new horses that come in, eyeballing their movement and trying to guess which leg (and joint) the horse is favouring, because sometimes it can be really difficult when it turns out that the horse has multiple lameness points.
I really like Stride as a mineral supplement -- it's kelp based, but also has probiotics and other minerals that are lacking in our soil. Since your vet is indicating that Lio may develop DJD/Osteoarthritis in the future, my own thought would be to start him on some of the things that are used to treat it NOW.
Such as adding an ounce of apple cider vinegar to each bucket of water. If he won't drink it, you can add it to the feed bucket (i cut it with water by half and just feed twice as much. It's less sharp that way.). Herbs that are rich in Vit. C, such as rosehips and nettle are always good, and herbs such as comfrey, buckwheat (the plant), nettle(you may have to let it wilt a bit first), and clivers improve circulation and support the lymphatic system. Olive oil is also recommended in treatment of arthritis and certainly would not hurt in a moderate dose.
One of my vet manuals from the UK suggests that processed foods containing complex or processed sugars and high gluten levels (oats) should be avoided -- she recommends grass hay and a good supply of fresh vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, rutabaga (my horses won't eat that), celery and cabbage (??). I have a horse book around here somewhere with tales from the old days when the draft horse was king, and it reports that working draft horses were fed copious amounts of carrots -- like 40 lbs per horse/day, cooked in a vat in the stable yard, and that was what they were fed. No grain, no alfalfa, and not even any hay, the latter of which I think is a mistake, since horses need a certain amount of roughage for good gut motility.
I'm currently working with my 22 year old, who is somewhat arthritic. It doesn't sound like joint injections would help Lio out (yet, anyway) but it is something to keep in mind for the future. Albert has had hyluronic acid injected into his affected joints in the past. We initially had to do it every six months, then it was reduced to every year, and we entirely skipped this last year and gave him a series of injections of Adequan intramuscularly that helped him out a lot, and I followed up with oral Fluid Flex (by Farnam) without telling the vet what I was doing. Last time he looked at Al, he said that he was the best he had ever seen him in terms of joint mobility. Fluid Flex is chrondroitin sulfate and glucosamine -- you don't have to use that brand, I just found it easiest to administer for my own case, as well as something that Al would eat (very picky) and went with it. Combining chrondroitin and glucosamine has been shown to have a superior effect over using either one singly, whatever (or any) brand yoy might want to use. Perna mussel shell has also shown some good use, but is very expensive, and I've foregone buying it as yet since the other cheaper alternatives are working. Don't waste your time with an oral supplement of hyluronic acid -- unlike Adequan, and chrondoitin & glucosamine, it is no good orally. It has to be injected directly into the joint as a lubricating fluid -- orally it is just a waste of your money.
-- julie f. (email@example.com), April 17, 2002.
Thanks for the excellent information. More questions: Is it healthy to feed a yearling grass hay & nothing else? Especially one who is likely to get as big as Lio? I can do that if it's really best, I just don't want to deprive him of anything he needs. My vet had me feeding him 4 pounds of 16% mare & foal grain, twice a day. It'd be quite a change to knock back to no grain at all. What about alfalfa/grass mix? Or should I avoid alfalfa altogether?
I definitely plan on starting the glucosamine condroitin stuff, too.
-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 17, 2002.
Shannon, try the pour on typ of glocosamine condroitin I think you will be amazed. We used it on a very lame stalion [22years old]at the ranch I worked on and the diference in him was incredible! He went from hobbling to almost sound in two weeks.This ranch also raised quarter horses for 30 years and they never grained there animals.Equus magazine did a article on raising foals and they found that pasture grass and out time was the very best for them.causing them to grow when there body isnt ready does damage to the bones.In most horses cases less is best.
-- kathy h (email@example.com), April 17, 2002.
This is why I only purchase from private people and I also have my vet do a pre-buy check up. Granted, the exam is only good the day the vet does the exam. In spite of all my years with livestock, my vet DOES have more knowledge. The vet is aware of what the equine is being purchased for, and if he tells me not to purchase, I don't.
-- ~Rogo (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 17, 2002.
Maybe these two article will answer some of your concerns, the problem is that the cartlidge is not forming into bone like it should, not that there is a lacking of cartlidge, so I would suggest that you check with your vet before adding the chondroitin:
Alan J. Ruggles, D.V.M. is an equine veterinary surgeon with Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, Lexington, Ky. Osteochondrosis Osteochondrosis (OC) is a disorder of the growing horse caused by failure of cartilage to form bone. All limb bone is originally cartilage that, through the process of mineralization, becomes bone. This process, called endochondral ossification, occurs at the growth plates. When most people think of a growth plate, they think of areas at the ends of a long bone (the radius, for example) that are responsible for longitudinal growth of the bone. There is another type of growth plate associated with the joints called the articular growth plate. The cartilage at these growth plates also undergoes the process of endochondral ossification. If this process does not occur, then bone is not properly formed and fragments of bone and cartilage may become loose or cysts may from. The result is joint swelling. The degree of lameness is variable and is dependent upon the site of abnormality and degree of joint swelling.
Diagnosis of OC is by evaluation of clinical signs and radiography. Osteochondrosis can occur anywhere cartilage forms bone, including the articular growth plates of the neck vertebrae. Some cases of Wobbler's Syndrome are caused by OC. In general, however, OC is found in limb joints. Commonly affected joints include hocks, fetlocks and stifles. The carpus (knee), shoulder, elbow and hip are less likely to be affected. When a joint is found to be affected, radiographs of the corresponding limb should be taken. In approximately 50 percent of the cases, a less severe form of OC will be present in the corresponding joint of the opposite leg. Most horses are between 6 months and 2 years when the signs of OC become obvious. In some circumstances, the clinical signs do not become obvious until the horse is placed in a training program.
Nutrition and Developmental Orthopedic Disease in Horses By Judith A. Reynolds
Both genetic and nutritional factors are recognized as potential contributors to developmental orthopedic disease (DOD) in growing horses. New information points to a possible link between the two factors. The genetic factor could involve glucose intolerance or insulin insensitivity that is expressed when young horses are fed large amounts of carbohydrates to promote rapid growth.
Sarah Ralston, D.V.M., Ph.D., is a faculty member in animal science at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., and the chairperson of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. She has been researching glucose and insulin metabolism in horses for more than 20 years. At the 1999 Kentucky Equine Research Conference for Feed Manufacturers, Ralston reported that some horses less than one year of age that develop DOD, such as osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), also exhibit glucose intolerance. When these horses are fed large amounts of grain, their glucose concentration can be maintained near normal only by producing excessive amounts of insulin. Increased insulin can affect bone metabolism by preventing the proper formation of bone from cartilage, possibly resulting in OCD lesions. This condition should be suspected whenever familial groups of horses have developed DOD. Management of these horses would involve greatly decreasing their starch intake by substituting fat and high-quality forages for grains as nutrition sources.
Fat in horse rations does not produce the typical glycemic response (150 percent in plasma glucose and corresponding plasma insulin increase) seen in horses fed high-grain rations. By using fat in the form of stabilized rice bran, growth can be maintained without excessive carbohydrates from grains and the resulting excessive insulin production.
As always, total rations for young horses must be balanced for energy, protein, calcium, phosphorus, copper and zinc to minimize the occurrences of DOD. Since several forms of DOD are associated with mineral deficiencies or imbalances in broodmares, dietary prevention of DOD should begin with proper broodmare nutrition. (See Horse Professional, February, 2001, page 30). If DOD is suspected at your horse operation, consult an equine nutritionist and/or veterinarian for help with managing the problem and preventing further occurrences.
Judith A. Reynolds, Ph.D., P.A.S., is an equine technical specialist at MoorMan's Inc.
-- BC (email@example.com), April 17, 2002.
IMHO and RESPECTFULLY, take everything you hear from any ONE Vet with a grain (maybe a peck, LOL) of salt. Yes, grass hay is great. Anything richer is not in their natural diets anyway. Ever hear of equines in the wild eating grain? alfalfa? crimped oats? linseed meal? carrots? Granted, our "overbred and/or inbread" steeds now require our care as opposed to wild herds, BUT we need to remember that we can overdo our management when careing for domesticated animals. Blessings as always to Grateful Acres.
-- Susan in Michigan (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 18, 2002.
Shannon, a couple of years ago I had a coming 2yo filly develop a very slight lameness in her hock or stifle. It was barely noticeable. She was a very fast growing filly that was not yet in training. I had my vet check it out while he was here for something else. He said she might possibly have OCD lesions but he said we couldn't be sure w/o x-rays. He gave her a shot of (I think) glucosamine and left me another to give her a few days later. The shots were maybe $20 each. We also started her on 2 supplements- chondroiton sulfate and glucosamine(we used DAC brand), the 2 buckets were not cheap-better than $100. He also recommended stall confinement and hand walking for at least a month. The other option was x-rays, joint injections, possibly surgery, etc., etc. and I certainly didn't want to go that route in such a young animal. In this filly's case, the non-invasive, wait and see approach worked just fine. We chalked it up to "growing pains" and she's been fine ever since. Hopefully it's the same with Lio- with minimal intervention he'll outgrow this. I wouldn't write him off yet as permanently unsound!
-- shakeytails in KY (email@example.com), April 18, 2002.
Oh, I did continue to feed mostly alfalfa hay (it's hard to get quality grass hay around here) and grain- I feed Purina Sweetena 12% and a little cracked corn. Of course I had to cut her grain back to just a few lbs a day because she was confined, but I didn't eliminate it entirely. I don't think it's a good idea to go with a grass hay only diet for a growing youngster- hard to maintain a balanced diet that way. A few lbs of name-brand commercial feed will ensure that he's at least getting the minimum amt of vitamins and minerals that he needs.
-- shakeytails in KY (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 18, 2002.
I raise some of the larger horses (warmbloods) and before that raised large dogs ... both of which seem to have a higher than average incidence of OCD. With both dogs and horses, all the vets with experience working with OCD suggest that the protein levels be held to low levels and that young animals should never be "fat" ...
In horses, for years all of my youngsters have been fed limited amounts of grain, never over 12% protein ... if they are thinner than I like, I add calories in the form of vegetable oil. I have fed alfalfa and not had problems with it but when I did feed alfalfa, I fed NO grain at all. I'm now in an area where I can't get good alfalfa so feed free choice grass hay and/or pasture ... but stay with the 12% protein in the grain (usually about 4# per day total) with vegetable oil added ... sometimes as much as 2 cups per day with the large horses.
I prefer my growing horses to be slightly "thin" ... if I can't see a suggestion of ribs at least they are too fat.
-- SFM in KY (email@example.com), April 18, 2002.