Some interesting findings from a study involving horses with ostechondrosis dissecans (OCD) lesions were presented during the recent World Equine Veterinary Association meeting in France. Horses with such lesions had better racing results than the average for the total research group and the group without such lesions, writes editor Kimberly S. Graetz in the December edition of The Horse. The work was done in Italy and most of the horses examined were Standardbreds.
In addition, the group with OCD lesions also had higher earnings (which has been documented in other studies). The research included 764 yearlings--born in 1990, 1991, and 1992- which were followed through their 2- and 3-year-old racing campaigns. Horses were X-rayed as yearlings, but were not clinically examined. Subsequent medical and surgical treatments were not documented.
It was hypothesized that the presence of (or predisposition to develop) some OCD lesions might be genetically linked to a good athletic genetic capacity. In a study under way in this country, the radiographs of Thoroughbred sale yearlings are being studied, and the findings are being correlated with subsequent racing results and earnings.