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Lameness in foals

Hi, what are the most common causes of lameness in foals you have Seen? I m more talking about congénital issues. Thank you

Either injury, OR joint infection from a lack of or failure of antibody transfer in colostrum. Those would be your two most likely causes, IME. If the second one, it will be fatal if not treated immediately, or sooner. Good luck. You need a vet.


I’ve only really seen developmental issues (tendons too lax or contracted or windswept hocks), hoof abscesses (very rare), traumatic injuries, or joint ill as Nancy M described-- although I have only seen the aftereffects of that.

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Congenital: wobbler, limb deformity or tendon issue not addressed, other malformaties.

Injury and infection are so much more common, though.

There are countless possible causes but unless you can see an extremely obvious cause you have to assume it’s infection until that is ruled out as you only have a limited time to save their life in the case that it is infected

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Thanks but in a 6 or 7 months old foal do you allready sée lameness caused by développement disorders liké ocd or Bone cysts?

You can.

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Oh that s pretty Bad, i thought it would show UP later, when they start training. With an ocd you normally have more joint effusion than with a cyst?

https://nzhanoverian.com/2010/08/osteochondritis-dessecans-or-ocd/ Discusses OCD in foals

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I held my friend’s foal as she was euthanized at 7 month old. She had the largest OCD in her shoulder that they had every seen at New Bolton

Oh that IS sad, wa she very lame?

OCD is congenital, can show lameness very young, and is often addressed surgically long before any training starts. Sometimes it doesn’t show up as lameness, but a lot of breeders will screen for it as a precaution.

Lameness in foals is usually treated as more of an emergency than the same grade in an older one - due to the risks of infection. Basically, call the vet IMMEDIATELY, you can always choose the conservative route once you’ve confirmed the issue isn’t life threatening.


She was non weight bearing. We were hoping it was surgical but as soon as that first image popped up even a layman like me knew it was over.

Funny you should mention that…
I noticed this in my 3mo old colt this afternoon. Poor little Hazel. I think he just turned his ankle. I’ve shut the gate to the pasture. I’ll keep them in for a couple of days. He has a bit of a limp, but he walks on it. It’s like a 30% limp…

Septic arthritis until proven otherwise.


Maybe he just banged his leg? Hé might have a tiny wound that makes him swell?

When do you normally x Ray thé young ones? I do it AT 16 months but maybe you Can Do it before?

Poor fella. Is his temperature normal? How does the swelling look today?

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his temperature…on the swollen area is warm but not hot. He’s acting like he’s not as owie, and swelling is either the same or the tiniest littlest bittiest bit less.

He offered many many kisses (he likes…no, he requires, kisses on the lips… Lips on Lips…that’s how he likes it :kissing_heart:) And he did some free choice haltering like a little champ. I told his mama that her son is an A student.

So many helpful and knowledgeable people here. Do you have a more direct question? Do you have a foal with an issue?

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