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Discussion on Bone spurs

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Lisa O'Brien (Lisao)
Posted on Tuesday, Apr 9, 2002 - 9:04 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I've looked at the previous discussions on hock bone spurs in yearlings and it seems that the consensus is that they're not so horrible. However, on a pre-purchase exam that was done on a Holsteiner pasture-raised filly, the vet said that the spurs would enlarge and that this would preclude the horse from jumping 4' in the future, but would have no impact on a dressage career. This entire statement surprised me. Knowing how much weight is carried on hocks in dressage, if it's a problem for jumping, why not dressage? Can we really predict that the spurs will grow? They are only supposedly a couple of millimeters now. I can tell you that the vet was very negative about the entire exam - even going so far as too call the yearling emaciated, when she's actually in excellent weight. Given this and other bad things she said during exam, I am really questioning her judgement on the spurs. Any comments?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Tuesday, Apr 9, 2002 - 7:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Without looking at the radiographs I really cannot make much comment on her assesment. In general no one likes to see osteophytes like this in a horse so young but the truth is that their significance is in most cases uncertain nor is it easy to predict if they will enlarge. Much of my personal assesment would depend on how many, how large, and how reactive they appeared but even this is very subjective and I would not pretend to know what this horse may be like in as little as a year. As Dr. Kawcak from Colo State said as recently as 4 months ago at the 2001 AAEP meeting, "Osteophytes have been associated with osteochondral disease, but their significance is unknown" (Current and Future Diagnostic Means to Better Characterize Osteoarthritis in the Horse—Imaging). Colorado State Veterinary School is doing some of the most advanced work on arthritis in horses and humans in the world.

To say the horse will be fine for dressage but not for jumping is a bit "out there" and I would recommend you get a second opinion from a certified veterinary radiologist with a keen interest in horses.
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Lisa O'Brien (Lisao)
Posted on Wednesday, Apr 10, 2002 - 11:01 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks. We are going to get the films examined by a radiologist. I was glad to hear you recommend another opinion (the owner thought I was wasting my money in the first place on even doing films on such a young horse - and really couldn't see the value of a second pair of eyes checking her out). I don't want to give up on this filly, but neither do I want hock issues later on.
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Cathy Miller (Buddil)
Posted on Friday, Apr 12, 2002 - 8:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lisa, I fell in love with a young horse with a well formed spur on the lower joint of the left hock and a smaller one on the lower right hock. He flexed clean at the time so I took the risk of buying him when he was 4 and he is turning 8 now and really have not had too many problems. It can be very iffy, his full brother is clean in the hocks, however, his full sister has spurs and is never sound. Don't know if this is just a fluke or if it could be hereditary. Sire did not have spurs, don't know about the mom. I use Adaquan monthly and Cortaflex liquid daily. He has had a few sore times after harder collected work (Dressage horse doing some 10 meter circles and lots of lateral work, schooling 2nd level). At one point he was not very pleasant to deal with and seemed very sore but not lame so we tried injecting the lower joints and it seemed to help for some time (6 months). However, instead of injecting this time around I have just added Legend IV monthly and this is the best he has ever been. Hopefully someday the bones will fuse and the problem will be gone forever! His original price was $25,000 as a 2 year old and I got him at 4 years old at a fraction of the cost due to the spurs and nobody wanting to take a chance. I feel it was worth it to give him a good home and the best care he could get. Great conformation and good mind, thought I would take a chance! Just thought this might help you out!
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Lisa O'Brien (Lisao)
Posted on Monday, Apr 15, 2002 - 1:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

...So, does anyone know if this a heritable condition? I had hoped to add this filly to my broodstock if she fulfilled the promise she shows now. I am quite picky about the mares I breed. I'm also a tad gunshy about hock issues because I'm managing a mare that kicked through a fence and did some permanent hock damage. I'm still waiting for copies of the original radiographs and the written evaluation...I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it's taking so long, given the entire lousy experience with this vet. Thanks for the info on your guy - sounds like you got a great partner!
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