Incidence of osteochondrosis (dissecans) in Dutch warmblood horses presented for pre-purchase examination

Data are lacking in the literature regarding the incidence of osteochondrosis (dissecans) [OC(D)] in relation to lameness evaluation in Dutch Warmblood horses. The objective of this retrospective study was to assess the incidence of radiological abnormalities consistent with osteochondrosis or osteochondrosis dissecans in 1,231 sound Dutch Warmblood (DW) horses presented for pre-purchase examination.

Standardised (Dutch) pre-purchase examination protocols were evaluated. The pre-purchase examination included a clinical, lameness and radiological evaluation, performed at a private equine clinic in the Netherlands. Radiographical examination included views of the distal (DIP) and proximal (PIP) interphalangeal, metacarpo- and metatarsophalangeal (MCP/MTP), tarsocrural (TC) and femoropatellar (FP) joints. Radiographical evidence of OC(D) was found in 44.3% of clinically sound DW horses. In this study, 443 horses (36%, n = 1,231) had evidence of OCD and 102 horses (8.3%, n = 1,231) had evidence of OC on pre-purchase radiographs. The results also indicated that the TC joints were significantly more likely to be affected. A considerable number of horses did not demonstrate any lameness, although radiographs revealed OC(D).