View Full Version : OCD, our dream babies grow up 2 b n

26-06-04, 01:41 PM
Yes a well used topic! Although one worth mentioning. I personally have had alot of problems buying my dream horse only to losing him to OCD. I bought a w/b gelding of fantastic breeding, movement and temp some years ago and yes had a vet check and passed flexions. Had a few problems working him deeper than he was comfortable. Found out with x rays after 6 months after a series of events that occured that he had an armond shaped gap in both of his front fetlocks. He basically had empty fetlock joints. Well no fixing this, he was running around his paddock soon after and one of his fetlock joints crumbled. My point, sick of horses being subjected to OCD ( as these poor horses suffer since some are only minutes old), I think breeders in Australia should look into this a little closer, if you can't afford to feed these babies propely then don't breed. This is what happened in my case, key word is 'Home work and Care' Unfortunately they don't and get the $, and the buyers suffer. I am sure that there are a few stallions out there that suffer from OCD and are carriers, maybe people should ask stallion owners why are there stallions not being ridden and what sort of injury do they have. Maybe vet certificate to proove other wise! One thing for sure is be careful as this is a cut throat industry 'breeding', must crack down on known OCD. Any one have interesting stories...Cheers.

27-06-04, 02:19 AM
OCD is not always hereditary. I have a young filly that I purchased in horrible condition. With good feed, she grew quickly into a lovely two year old, which proved that her fast growth rate produced OCD. Horses can contract OCD just from too much feed, especially over feeding as young horses, also from fast growth rates.

Some people say that warmbloods are more suseptible to OCD because of the way which they grow with huge bodies and joints.

There are still many studies being commenced especially for feed induced OCD.

When purchasing horses you can have xrays done to show whether or not there are any signs of OCD. Especially with the hocks you can usually see some inflamation without the horse being lame. My filly having OCD has not at all been lame, but had xrays to verify OCD in the hock joints and an arthrosope done to clean up one hock joint and a cartilage chip was removed from her other hock.

So to all buying horses I would not just rely on flexion tests, look stringently to any slight inflamation of joints and even take a couple of xrays.
In the long run it will save you a lot of money and heart break!

27-06-04, 02:47 PM
4 reasons for OCD


-over feeding

-under feeding

-not enough exercise

So buyers must assume that all horses are unsound until proven otherwise.

So you purchase a car over $3,000 and you need a roadworthy, so what about 'proof of soundness' at the time of sale.. Sound fare.

28-06-04, 10:39 AM
Many cars over $3000 are sold without road worthy's......

When purchasing a horse or anything else for that matter, buyers should be aware of everything.
Not all sellers are trying to shaft buyers!! They may not know that their horse may have a defect, and its not uncommon for vets if doing soundness/Vet checks, will find everything that is wrong with a horse.

There are many many reasons for OCD. Not just 4... There are still many studies focusing on it! So keep an eye out for further data in scientific publications to furthur your knowledge.

28-06-04, 03:31 PM
My main issue for this post is that when you saw what I saw happen to a fantastic horse it does make you sick...

And another issue for me is that I do know stallion owners that stand their stallions at stud and know that their stallion suffers from OCD, does this seem right to you?

I am not saying that all sellers are out to shaft buyers, this post was displayed to warn buyers of the problems in which I went through and also many other buyers that I am sure of.

I did list 4 reasons and I am sure that there is other contributing factors, I was list ing the main in which most people are aware of.
I do breed horses of my own and do the responsible research into OCD. So I limit the chance of going through the same pain in which I went through years ago. It Sucked.....

29-06-04, 10:10 AM
Supercrunch, not sure where you got your information from. As a breeder I have been to a number of seminars that speak on OCD. Firstly there is no conclusive proof of the cause, although many studies seem to indicate that overfeeding, or over nutrition, causing premature growth in the foal is the prime cause. I have never heard that underfeeding causes OCD, it can cause many other things but never heard it in this context.

It is ridiculous to expect every stallion owner that has a horse with OCD not to stand it at stud. Some of the greats like ALME had OCD. It like many other diseases is proving to be manageable. Having OCD is not necessarily a death sentence, early detection and management can reduce any long term consequences.

More of the problems surface when well meaning owners take home the lovely foals and stuff them full of feed, so they are in show condition all their growing years.

29-06-04, 10:25 AM
by underfeeding, I meant no nutrition or lack of..Maybe I am a little honest than other people. I would certainly not stand my stallion if it had OCD, it would have been gelded or like most sufferers in Germany they do put them down . Do you think that an owner of a stallion who suffers from OCD should declare this? and let the breeders decide. I am very sorry, I am positive that if people knew that these stallions had OCD that may dramatically change the amount of visiting mares......Included in this service fee if you are lucky will be OCD...

29-06-04, 10:29 AM
EA good points. What do you breed?

That was with my 2 year old filly. Early detection. She had slightly swollen hocks that were sighted by the vet when being treated for an eye condition. In turn this bought about her being xrayed, to find she had OCD. She went into surgery and is fully recovered. And as I said in my earlier post, she was never lame or stepped short.
Alot of people give horses the death sentence and or have opinions that they are not any good, but I think this is because they do not fully understand the disease.

29-06-04, 11:05 AM
Has it ever been proven that OCD is hereditary or nutrition????

Here is one rare case for you, my ASH x TB filly had OCD and i was advised to put her down as a 3yo, even more rare, she did not have it in the hocks as is common, she had it in the front pedal bones and it was as advanced as an 10yo would normally have been.

Her dam has produced 4 other foals and no sign of OCD, the mare is 26yo now and still sound. The sire had numerous horses on the track that went on to be successful hacks, so i dont beleive it came from either parents.

The mare did want to abort the above foal at 8 months as she came home in disgustingly poor condition, in mine and the vets wisdom we put her on progesterone which saved the pregnancy.

This filly was never overfed, so i can only blame it on poor nutrition during pregnancy. I now wish i had kept her alive and bred from her, this was a hard decission when you looked at her there were no outward signs and she was slightly lame in one front foot and just barely irregular in the other, certainly comfortable enough to be paddock sound.

So be aware it is not just warmbloods or other large breeds that get this horrible disease.

29-06-04, 02:04 PM
Kaz2769 you are right, OCD is not just restricted to WB breeds. There is alot of it in the TB industry as well, hence why they now need xrays for the yearling sales.

In Europe most stallions do actually advertise whether or not they have OCD. If you want to find out just ask. As I said previously if some people did not breed with OCD horses then we would not have some of the famous horses of today. Lets face it they breed the numbers there as well, 28,000 + foals in Holland, 10,000 in France, even more in Germany. If we are lucky in Australia 1000 sporthorses are bred each year. If the problems were truely hereditary then it would be have been pretty easy for them to prove it over there. To date they have not been able to do so, despite the abundant tests they have undertaken. Most studies have shown that the disease can be either brought on or held back by correct nutrition. There will always be exceptions to the rule.

Cheryl, we breed jumpers, mostly from frozen semen. We have a pretty diverse range of jumping genetics, French jumpers are something I have a passion for, so I have and will continue to breed with them.

Last year I was lucky enough to meet Arnaud Evain from France and he was asked about OCD. His view was that it has been around for ages, and really is just the latest marketing gimmick used by some groups of stallion owners. He believes like Navicular it is a manageable disease, that if horses with a predisposition for it are managed correctly then they will not have the problem. Arnaud runs some of the biggest auctions of young stock in France.

Correct feeding at any time goes along way to managing the problem.

03-07-04, 08:05 AM

I'm sorry for your loss. I really am. But that's horses. I lost one last weeks ago to an unsoundness, and its heartbreaking. But it is still horses.

The only value a horse has is as LIVE stock:-) Unfortunately the aim of all livestock appears to be to become deadstock.

The more valuable, talented and beautiful the horse is, the more likely it is to develop a very expensive nasty untreatable problem that causes it to be unrideable.

The most difficult challenge in horses is keeping them sound and alive. The breeders will tell you about the aborted foals, the stallions that were infertile, the infertile mares, etc etc etc.

The problem with OCD is that we still don't know the true causes, people are trying to breed away from it, but the breeders vary, there are those who educate themselves and those that don't.

I know how much it hurts to lose a valued riding horse, I'm still dealing with the loss of mine, BUT, that's horses, and that's the risk you run when you buy horses, they do no come with a guarantee to stay sound for life unfortunately.

I hope you find another lovely horse who will realise all your dreams.


11-07-04, 02:02 PM
EA I have bred a few horses. Not many - just a few. I had one very nice little quarterhorse/stockhorse mare many years ago who produced some lovely foals for me. She was bay. Twice she produced black fillies - by the same stallion, and both those fillies had OCD - lame by the time they were 12 months old. It HAS to be something to do with congenital/hereditary factors - and in this case that stallion - because absolutely nothing changed in the feeding/exercise regime from these two fillies to the four or five other foals she produced.

Of course there are other factors - but you can't blame it all on over-feeding.

Yes, Alme produced some wondrous horses - but he also produced some cripples - lots of them - who then went on to produce their own cripples. I don't think that's fair. There would be plenty of other good stallions around that you didn't have to use one with the propensity to produce poor, in pain, limping horses.

It's all very well for some auctioneer to say "oh it's a load of bollocks" but really - does he care? What's in it for him? It most definitely is NOT a marketing gimmick - it's very real and it is producing a lot of suffering in a lot of horses. My opinion of this guy has just dropped to below zero after reading your post.

Nope. I say OCD most definitely IS hereditary - there are stallions (known sufferers) here throwing OCD to their offspring and although SOME varities of OCD are manageable, others aren't. So what does one do with an expensive yearling one has bought that at 3 years old is lame? If it's a filly it's bred from?? How ignorant is that!! Or if it's a well-bred colt the same thing happens, or if it's a gelding and the owners aren't too fussed, there's a bit of bute added to its diet and it's sold to an aspiring showjumping or dressage rider.

By this I am not saying that the ONLY cause of OCD is the breeding .. but I am saying that OCD is hereditary in a lot of cases and therefore CAN BE AVOIDED.

I wonder did you make a typo?? 1000 sporthorses bred each year in Australia??

12-07-04, 05:57 AM

It would be interesting to have honestly noted the growth rate of the two black fillies and the weight in which they carried and those of the other four or five fillies.

There may of been a difference, even slight, to the growth rate/weight ratio which enhanced the production of OCD.

All factors need to be totally considered for OCD before determining cause. And in fact instead of leaving diagnoses until horses are lame, early detection including joint inflamation etc. can promote a future for these horses.

12-07-04, 09:55 AM
Yes Cheryl - I understand what you're getting at, but I'm not an idiot. The first black filly was big - and she kept getting bigger. So with that knowledge, with the second black filly I kept the mare in reasonable condition but not fat. The foal was never hard fed - I locked the mare in a yard for her feed. I very carefully monitored that foal and weaned it at 4 months - keeping up the correct diet. All the time under veterinary advice because I didn't want that foal to go the same way her sister had.

There was no joint swelling. Until the foal became lame there was no outward sign of any problem. Of course I considered all factors - as did my equine specialist vet. Until then we had both never considered a hereditary factor.

Cheryl I have had other foals with OCD - one diagnosed as having it in the pelvis - he was never lame, just couldn't handle any hard work - some irregularity behind was all that showed. He was Alme bred. The other foal was a grandson of a known OCD sufferer.

I know that warmbloods can be prone to OCD and I am extremely careful in my management of my foals. Never are they allowed to grow too big too soon, or get fat. My experience has shown me never to breed from unsound stock - stallions with "paddock injuries" or mares that have gone lame early in their careers (racing injuries excepted of course) and I can only urge others to be aware of the dangers in using these horses as breeding stock.

12-07-04, 11:23 AM
At no stage did I say you were an idiot!!

Did you ever consider that what you did the second time around may of been incorrect.

I would not of relied on one specialist equine vet for information I would of sought out more and researched into the disease to find out what progress was being made into the factors behind OCD. One person is not going to be able to help you to fully understand a disease that is not clearly understood and aetiology confirmed.

I have many discussions with veterinarians about OCD and they all have good argueing points and opposing comments.

Being involved with OCD research I do see a lot of opinions of what is correct weight and what is the right type of feed to feed and how much to feed and what suppliers and makers of feed say their product is and under analysis find that it isn't! Especially with seasonal changes.

A recommendation for feeding a horse may be correct for one but not for another!

I suggest people that want to find more out on OCD keep an eye out on research that is being conducted around the world which is published in several scientific journals, so if ever faced with the problem or just basically interested can gain further knowledge.

12-07-04, 02:55 PM
Sure Cheryl. But my vet and I were in touch with major universities here and in Holland. How much further do you expect a person to go?? Every university in every major city in the world?? And what do you have to say about my other two horses?? And how ridiculous is this when the choice is really simple?

Why take the risk? Why should we need to study OCD when there should be absolutely minimal incidence of it if breeders are careful in their choice of breeding stock and in their youngstock management programs? The fact that it has become such a huge factor in breeding, and has university veterinarians and scientists studying its causes etc. is only due to ignorance - ignorance of feeding practices but also ignorance of horses' predispositions to unsoundness.

Why breed from unsound stock no matter how "fantastic" the breeding, and then have to go to the expense of trying to "fix" an unsound baby (only to sell on because you'd never keep it yourself to campaign now would you)? And why consign a foal that you have bred, that you are therefore responsible for, to a life of pain?

Cherie if you are involved in research of OCD then I admire you greatly - but you mustn't allow yourself to be carried away by scientific stuff. IMHO it is most definitely NOT okay to breed from an individual that MAY produce an unsound offspring - unless you're prepared to shoot that offspring as opposed to keeping it alive and in pain. Because you have to remember that if a horse limps it is in pain. Same as us.

12-07-04, 11:24 PM
Until the true aetiology of OCD is found then it is difficult to make statement of what causes it and at present it is only individuals research and what they have studied why they believe in certain things.

Even what all people say including vets and scientists and lay people regarding correct nutrition, if an animal is fed supposably correct doesn't this infact determine the quality of its health and therefore its growth.

We feed horses the so called correct nutrition but this may in fact help their growth rate and be the cause of OCD.

As for getting carried away with science, I have a view both ways. I do not try and say only one thing leads to OCD, but try and understand the disease from all angles. If people turn a blind eye to OCD and believe that it is only hereditary, well they are in for a rude shock.

You ask why study OCD. Well why study other diseases. Therefore we can look at it that we should not breed at all, even humans and destroy any that are shown to have a disease.
Then what does that leave us....Nothing!!

Discussions in this forum are good, but people should not take offence when something is stated they do not like. It is only another view that people can read about, comment and possibly further their knowledge!!!!!!

13-07-04, 04:10 AM
Ernie, I have bred lots of horses, and to date none have had OCD, so Whether or not they have a predisposition to it I dont know, however I believe that our management of the foals has something to do with none of them ever developing it.

I find it a bit incredible based on just your experience with two foals that you believe OCD is hereditary, when the rest of the world has been studying it to a far greater extent and cannot make the same conclusion.

Perhaps your Mare is the carrier and not just the stallion, maybe they both were and that is why the filly's got the disease.

13-07-04, 04:23 AM
Please read my posts more carefully :-) I haven't stated that I believe the cause of OCD is ONLY hereditary at all. I am only saying "please don't breed from unsound stock" because we all know that congenital unsoundnesses of any kind - which of course includes OCD - can be hereditary.

Now EA you seem to poo poo this idea. But then you say:

"Perhaps your Mare is the carrier and not just the stallion, maybe they both were and that is why the filly's got the disease."

Yes. Exactly.

14-07-04, 01:15 AM
Ernie, I dont Poo Poo anything, I just dont believe there has been any conclusive proof done to date that indicates that the disesase is in fact hereditary, unlike yourself, who believe it is just because you have managed to produce two horses that have it.

If you read mine and other posters posts clearly you will also get the idea that we dont necessarily believe that the disease is so alarming, or something that has to lead to unsoundness in the horse. I horse may have it but can remain completely sound for its entire life is managed correct. That is the point we are making, so if management proves to be correct, and all the studies done to date, seems to indcate that this is entirely correct, then your statement of not breeding with OCD carriers is unfounded, as they dont necessarily have to become unsound and suffer pain. Breeders need to understand the disease enough and manage any offspring with a predisposition to developing it.

14-07-04, 02:35 AM
EA normally I wouldn't bother to reply, but I feel that this is such an important issue and I don't consider it good debate when you are being deliberately insulting. I thought that by using my two fillies as an example, it would help people to understand, or perhaps learn a little more about the disease - but instead you choose to throw rocks.

I haven't said that OCD IS hereditary - I have said it CAN BE hereditary. Yes, it needs to be managed, yes breeders need to be aware of it. But the breeders sell their OCD (or navicular, ringbone, whatever) horses to aspiring riders who are heartbroken when the horse goes lame at an early age.

I am saying that there are plenty of good horses out there, why breed from the horses with a big query over their heads? Because you and I both know that OCD can be a disaster. But I am interested in the "management" if you would be so kind as to tell me.

14-07-04, 03:57 AM
Sorry Ernie, but you said 'it HAS to be something related to congenital/hereditary factors'.

Anyway, the way I see it breeders need to educate themselves and keep an open mind. Breeding from sound stock is the best way to produce sound stock, IMO, but what about valuable breeding animals that may have ended up with OCD because of poor management? Should people not breed from them because they are unsound and their belief is that this unsoundness is hereditary?

If a line or a particular breeding horse is noted to produce a lot of foals which get OCD then you have to start wondering whether it is in the genes and this line/horse is to be avoided when breeding sporthorses.

Unless I knew the facts about how the horse became lame I would always choose a sound horse to breed from. Having said that, I have a TB mare who is retired to stud as she is not sound enough to ride. I am confident that this was caused by neglect in her early days and poor shoeing later on. But I also breed her to unrelated stallions who are perfectly sound and do not have the same flat feet that she has.

14-07-04, 07:07 AM
Yes I did too ... thanks Jodie. You are the voice of reason :-)

You've said in a nutshell what I've been trying to say. Yes, a good breeding stallion MAY have developed OCD because of mismanagement, but the propensity has to be there.

Buyers of young horses need to be made aware which lines are prone to unsoundness at an early age. If the young horse of your choice has a sire or dam that is lame - find out why - as Jodie has said. Also check out their older offspring - where are they now? Most reputable studs campaign their sporthorse stallions these days and if the stallion isn't being campaigned it puts a great big question mark over his head.

I personally have never known a mature horse suffering from OCD that was not lame somewhere or other. But then I guess if a horse isn't lame, you're not going to suspect anything either. A young horse can have OCD lesions showing up on X-ray that may never develop further, but then again they may. Not a good risk.

17-07-04, 05:46 AM
I agree with Ernie, having been involved with the practical side of breeding and raising youngstock, its difficult enough to raise a sound horse from birth when you breed from two sound rideable parents. Its difficult enough to get the best of both parents genetically, so why start behind the eightball by starting with problem stock?

No matter whether OCD is environmental or hereditary (it could even that some genetic combinations are more susceptible) - why take the risk?

Whether or not congenital problems are manageable, from a rider's perspective, its expensive enough maintaining and competing with a sound animal, so why take on something problematic?

I chose to put my mare down rather than breed from her because her problem was congenital. Yep, I could have tried breeding around it, yep, I would have had a 50:50 chance of not repeating the problem - but Murphy was a horsebreeder, and when breeding horses what can go wrong, will go wrong and spectacularly so, so what do I do with the foals that are born with mummy's congenital unsoundness?

I personally think that anyone who is considering putting their mare in foal should go down to the horse sale yards for several sales, if they can walk away and honestly say that there was nothing there that convinced them that its not cheaper to buy a better quality horse than their mare, then by all means put her in foal. But if you imagine the worst case scenario of both parents, and think that if you got the worst features of both horses, and you'd be still chuffed with the foal, yep, breed from it, but if you can see you're going to run the risk of getting something unsound of mind or body - then ethically, should you be putting a foal on the ground?

So if I had a foal born of a mare of mine and had OCD, nup, the mare wouldn't be going back in foal - she'd be either back under saddle, or if that wasn't doable, then I'd be seriously thinking alternative careers for that mare. If it were a stallion, that were mine, well they're never too good to geld.