The Scoop on Horse Stifle OCD

The Scoop on Horse Stifle OCD

Osteochondritis Dissecans, also known as OCD, is a condition that can happen in the joints. One of the more controversial topics of discussion surrounding OCD, is when it takes place in the stifle joint. The stifle joint that can develop problems well into a horse’s life. A one year old’s horse’s stifle can be completely normal, but as the horse continues to grow, OCD can occur even then.
 
You may hear your veterinarian bring up bone cysts or the lucency on the stifle, as they are relatively common. What is a bone cyst? In the simplest terms, it is a hole in the bone. If one of the bones of a joint has a hole in it, that area can be called a “cyst like structure”, emphasis on the word “like” only because most of them aren’t actually cysts. A cyst is a cavity that is full with fluid, usually consisting of a lining around it and resulting in the bone developing a hole, therefore appearing and behaving like a cyst in most cases of stifle OCD. In addition, the stifles can have OCD’s in other areas like the patella or trochlear ridges.
 
The best thing you can do for your horse is to monitor all areas with OCD regularly with a radiograph. In some cases, stifle OCD can be very detrimental to your horse’s health, but in other cases, they will heal or clear up by themselves. Your veterinarian can help you determine which one is which!
 
There are many options for treatment if the OCD does not disappear. With a screw placement surgery that goes across the cyst, it is common to stem cells before and after the surgery. Another type of surgery, the surgeon can go in and do arthroscopy, where they grab a piece of the OCD and remove it. A lot of times after stifle surgery, the horse rarely faces problems again, with only a low percentage of recurrence or the need for a second surgery if the OCD was too big to completely remove the first time.
 
The only negative aspect of surgery is that the horse could develop a bit of arthritis in the future. So that’s why it’s so important to follow up and prevent arthritis with regenerative therapies like stem cell, PRP, amnion, etc. Anything you can do to prevent arthritis post surgery.
 
To see more of our in depth information, studies and radiographs on this topic visit www.equinearthritis.info.

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