Unlimited access >

Buying a horse with a OCD Help??

So I am in the process of purchasing this 6 year old Oldenburg, 17+ hands tall. She had OCD surgery in her stifle when she was 4. I never thought anything of it because just about every large horse I’ve seen has had OCD surgery between the ages of 2-4 and I didn’t think it was a big deal. Even the vet in our vet check reassured us that a OCD with a horse of her size was normal and that with the successful surgery it will not affect her in any way. However I was just browsing the internet and stumbled across some people talking about a horse with a OCD. They were making a big deal of it saying, “I wouldn’t buy a horse with a OCD for anything more than it’s meat value!” and that just really shocked me. All these people had strong negative opinions towards the OCD in the horses and that it should dramatically affect their price. Well this mare is definitely not cheap. She has incredible talent and is out of Grand Prix dressage lines. I am hoping to bring this mare up to the top with me. Now I am worried if the vets I am using for the Pre Purchase exam have been misinforming me about the OCD? Including my trainers who have been breeding these warmbloods for many years and say a OCD is to be expected? Why is everyone acting like it is such a casual usual thing if it is detrimental to her career and future life? Any insight on this would really be appreciated, thank you :slight_smile:

It depends on where it is, if surgery is an option, and other factors as to whether the horse is high risk for lameness or not and how manageable it is. If a horse has one OCD, the odds of there being another one somewhere increases. You may wish to do extensive X-rays. It really doesn’t matter the breed or size, although some people think OCD is hereditary. It usually shows up as a congenital problem and can also be related to a developing horse’s diet. I think it is fair to say that a lot of horses will have something come up on X-ray, and it is up to us to decide with our vets how risky each thing is based on that horse’s complete picture, the anticipated job, etc.

IME, even vets have very different opinions on OCD. I once worked with a horse that had multiple OCDs. The horse was vetted 6 times while I had him and 3 okayed him and 3 said don’t buy. I followed the horse for about 10 years and he never had an issue resulting from them. My current 17 hand TB had fairly large chips removed from his stifle as a 7 year old. He has been great in that joint ever since. This year when we x rayed his hocks, we discovered he had OCD surgery on his hock before I bought him. I never would have suspected as it was never an issue. If I was doing a PPE on a horse I really liked and found out OCD surgery was done, as long as the radiographs were good otherwise, I wouldn’t let it bother me.

My 13 yr old gelding has an OCD lesion in his R stifle; he gets injections periodically for it and has never had surgery. I make sure he has proper footing and hoof care as well. He’s been fine and it has not hindered his performance. That said, he is a TWH, so I am not jumping or doing dressage work.

I bought one. Hocks. Had an unrelated bone chip too. But it was an older horse already jumping regularly without issues. Excluded from insurance coverage for the first ?? Years? Don’t remember how long. And I knew I could keep it through retirement.

It probably shortened the horses career at 3’ and did require maintanence and being aware of workload and footing. Price reflected limitation.

Don’t know if I would by a younger horse that had not been in regular work doing what I was buying it to do for enough time to prove it could perform soundly.

I wouldn’t say categorically don’t buy it but also won’t advise you to ignore it, it’s nothing to blow off and pretend will never be a problem if the horse has never been in long term, serious work and you are a single horse owner boarding out.

Long term soundness is always a crapshoot but the odds you are willing to play with vary greatly depending on your situation.

The horse had the surgery 2 years ago, if I’m reading the OP right, so I’d be more concerned with what work she has been in since that time and how she vets currently. If in the kind of work I want to be doing with no problems, and no current issues on vetting, I wouldn’t be that worried about it. Now, if the horse had the surgery and then sat and hasn’t been in work, I’d be very cautious. Often these things don’t necessarily bother them until they are in work. That’s why so many are discovered at 3 or 4 years of age when the horse gets started and lameness shows up.

OP, if you have concerns that came up after the vetting, there is nothing wrong with going back to that vet to discuss them. They looked at the horse and know all the details, unlike those of us COTHers, so they should be able to help you understand why they aren’t concerned about the previous OCD. And it sounds like you have a trainer involved too so nothing wrong with discussing these concerns with them as well. You want to be happy and comfortable writing that check! Good luck.

What horsepoor suggested. Is she currently doing the work you will want her to continue in?

If not, I’d think twice about buying her. I also wouldn’t consider her breeding material either. I think you can find WBs that have not had or do not have OCD.

My vet has always told me that if they get to be 5-6 and an ocd isn’t bothering them, it probably won’t ever bother them. Meaning as long as this horses surgery is successful and he doesn’t currently have anything bothering him, you might be in the clear. That’s not to say that he doesn’t still have another ocd but it could just be a floater or in an area that it won’t bother him.

Yeah she hasn’t been doing the work I will be planning to do with her. They said for some reason her training was delayed and she didn’t get started like their other horses at the age of 4. We couldn’t get a straight story out of them as to why, but they also took x-rays of her when she was 4 so we suspected she must of been giving them some problems. Her OCD surgery on both hocks took place when she was 10 months old. As a result, she has long term post surgical swelling on her left hock. Periodically they drain it and they say they get 20CCs off of it but that she has never favored it. Currently she is showing in training level and had a few 1st level shows in dressage and I am planning on moving up the levels with her and hopefully end up doing upper level dressage work with her. I just had my vet do a thorough vet check on her and she came clear in all the x-rays except for we found another problem in the right hock which was a striatal lesion. This concerned our vet a lot and they told us they thought she had a high likely hood of going lame.

We decided not to purchase her. Thank you guys for all your input!


We decided not to purchase her.[/QUOTE]

Given the additional information you posted, I think you made the right decision! Good luck in your search.

Mine had it surgery at 18 months he is 13 and fine!

I dealt with this on a recent pre-purchase and passed - if the OCD surgery was routine in nature, a lot of it has to do with how the joint looks now. Stifle surgery made me much more nervous than DIRT lesions in a hock, and unfortunately at the PPE exam the vet immediately identified effusion in the joint and called me and we stopped there - as the vet said, if you don’t already own that, why would you want to assume the risk, because in her view it was 50/50 as to how the horse would fare going forward, and the horse was only 6 and doing the baby greens, ie, not yet doing the workload that she would be working up to.

It can be just fine but it can not be too – with that additional info, it sounds like that is likely one of the “nots”. Stifles can be worse than other locations. I think you made a very sound decision, too risky with all those additional red flags.