Reasons for performing study: Osteochondrosis (OC) is the most important orthopaedic developmental disorder in horses and may manifest in several different forms. No detailed study on the prevalence and/or interrelation of these forms is available, even though these data are a prerequisite for conclusive genetic studies. Objectives: To assess the prevalence of the various manifestations of OC as detected radiographically and to evaluate possible relationships between their occurrence within the same joint and between different joints. Methods: The FP (femoropatellar), TC (tarsocrural) and MCP/MTP (metacarpophalangeal/metatarsophalangeal) joints of 811 yearlings selected randomly, descending from 32 representative stallions, were radiographed and scored for the presence and grade of osteochondrotic lesions. Results were compared at the sire, animal, joint and predilection site levels. Results: In the FP joint, the percentage of animals showing normal joint contours in all sites was 60.7%. For the TC joint and the combined MCP/MTP joints, these figures were 68.6 and 64.6%, respectively. For all joints combined, the percentage dropped to 30.5%. Sedation improved detection of OC lesions in the FP joint. There was a high correlation between the right and left joints. The correlation between flattened bone contours and fragments was considerably less. Conclusions: Scoring on a detailed scale is necessary to achieve good insight into the prevalence of OC. Observations on the right and left joints can be combined in further analyses, whereas flattened bone contours and fragments should be evaluated as statistically different disorders. Potential relevance: This study provides insight into the prevalences of various manifestations of OC and their relationships, within and between joints. These results form the basis for detailed quantitative and/or molecular genetic studies that should lead to the establishment of breeding indices and/or genetic marker sets for OC.
- german coldblood horses