Saturday, July 21, 2007

And now a few words about DSLD

The ad: (why is it none of these sellers seem to have graduated high school? They don't need a horse, they need Hooked on Phonics). On the plus side, she does seem to have mastered addition.

hi i have an own daughter of bunny bid for adoption, she is a foal of 1986 so that makes her 21 years old. she is open at the moment but takes to foal very easily, she has 120 AQHA points and has won almost $11,000 on the track. i am having to move out of my pasture and do not have the money to board 3 horses. and i was planning on breading her but i do not have the money this year, so here is my offer so she does not sit and go to waste or end up going to the aution :( i am asking a $300 adoption fee. i can send you pics and her blood lines. i will give you all her papers also. i will not haul unless she is paid for first. can haul if close. she is healthy and up to date on all her worming and shots. her hocks and fetlocks are shot, she can not be used as a riding horse unless they are very little, she is on just pasture right now and is doing great. she stiffens up when she is stalled. she wintered great with a mid weight blanket last winter and trees for shelter. her teeth were done a little over a year ago

Unfortunately, the odds are excellent this mare is going to wind up being "breaded" and served with onions, because this moron who owns her is trying to make $300 off of her instead of spend the $300 she should spend putting her to sleep. Looking at those dropped hind fetlocks, this old girl has a very obvious case of DSLD (Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Desmitis), "a condition where there is inflammation and faulty healing of the suspensory ligament, resulting in typical thickening or hardening of the mid-body of the ligament or the suspensory branches resulting in loss of integrity of the suspensory ligament and its ability to do its intended job of supporting the horse. In advanced stages the fetlocks seem to be sinking more when the horse moves. As the condition worsens, the pastern area becomes increasingly parallel to the ground, and ringbone can develop. In later stages, one of the most telltale signs of DSLD is in the horse affected in the hind legs; the pasterns level out making the fetlocks appear dropped and the stifle and hock gradually straighten, making the horse reticent to move even to its feed or water. Some horses will dig a hole in their stall or paddock and stand with their toes pointing down and the heels elevated. On hard surfaces, horses may rock back and forth, relieving one leg and then the other. Some horses find the condition painful enough to spend a more than normal amount of time lying down." (veterinary information quoted from

Right now researchers are trying to determine if DSLD is genetic. They suspect it may be, in which case breeding an affected mare would be absolutely irresponsible (as would "breading" her but that is another debate). Regardless, why would you take a horse already suffering from a debilitating, uncurable condition that makes every step painful and breed her? And if your finances are so shaky that the loss of your pasture means you must get rid of a horse, why were you contemplating producing another horse? It's shortsightedness and bad decisions just like these that keep the killers in business, everybody. It needs to stop. This old mare has more than done her time. If her owner is unable to finance her retirement, euthanasia is the kindest option.
Apologies to those who were hoping for more humor today, but I did feel the need for a Responsible Breeding PSA. Tomorrow we will have the long-awaited Bad Horses In Good Condition versus Good Horses in Bad Condition comparison, with some terrific examples thanks to all of you who send me pictures!