Clydesdale horses would benefit from owners knowing more about the likely causes of bog spavin, according to a report published in Veterinary Record.
"Bog spavin", the chronic fluid distension of the tarsocrural (hock) joint, is commonly seen in draught breeds.
Martin Weaver and Laura Wilant of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh, Scotland, conducted a survey of Clydesdale owners in both the United Kingdom and the United States. They looked at the incidence of the condition and how the owners dealt with it.
Over half of the affected animals first showed signs of bog spavin before they reached 1 year of age. This is significant as it coincides with the time when osteochondrosis tends to occur.
Osteochondrosis, a disorder of bone development which results in damage to the articular cartilage, is the most common cause of long-term joint swelling in young horses showing little or no lameness. If untreated, the condition may eventually result in osteoarthritis and persistent lameness.