Review of Osteochondritis Dessicans in Horses
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Recovery depends on the size and location of the lesion, the amount of erosion in cartilage bed, and the animal's general health and diet. It also depends on the extent the horse has been affected by OCD - if a portion of the bone separates then full recovery is less likely because the bones may become permanently deformed as a result of the bone separation. Since this injury is a disease of the joint, it may lead to a certain amount of DJD such as osteoarthritis.
Arthroscopic surgery has had good results in the past and follow-up results support its value, particularly when an athletic career is planned for the horse. In a study described by McIlwraith & Rantanen (2000), where post-surgical follow-up was obtained for 183 horses, 140 raced successfully or performed their intended use after surgery. Of the remaining 43, 11 were considered to still have a problem with the disease, 19 developed other problems precluding successful performance, 8 were considered poor racehorses without any lameness problems identified, 3 were killed because of septic arthritis and 2 died from other causes. There was no effect of age, sex or limb involvement on the outcome.
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