(Dsld) Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Disorder

Information on what (DLSD) is and the treatment and causes.

Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Disorder (DSLD) is a degenerative disorder that affects the front and hind legs in a horse. In this disease the pasterns eventually become horizontal and there is a gradual straghtening of the stiffle and hock angle. In (DSLD) the suspensory ligament  looses it’s integrity and the ability to support the horse. This disorder has been found in Peruvian Paso’s, Peruvian Paso crosses,ind legs. American saddlebreds, Quarter horses, and Arabians.

(DSLD) is cuased when the horse develops an unusual response to stresses on their suspenosry ligaments. The body fails to make new collagen for repairing tiny tears and rips in the tissue. Unfortunitly in this disorder the cartilage takes the place of where the new collagen was suposed to be made resulting in losso f strenth and elasticity in tissue.

There are many common symptoms that can now ca nbe used to identify this disorder, unfortunitly many times it is too late, and the disorder is already in it’s highest stages. The most common symptoms a horse will exibit are pain and lamness in both front and hind legs.O n hard pavement or surfaces horses will usually rock back and forth to ease the pain off their legs. Horses can also stumble and trip over their owno feet, and may show a false colic. They may show a change in attitude, sitting on fenses and rocks and becoming irritable. Horses also given a flexation test will not pass, but fail in two or more legs. A horse’s fetlocks can tend to sink in as the horse moves and the pasterns will gradually become paraelle to the ground.


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) can be diagnosed by ultra sound and thermo-graph. Ultrasound can show a weak fiber pattern at the beginning of the suspensory ligament. Many horses that have (DSLD) or have been diagnosed with it ahve a very limited future, some can be good enough to be retired and turned out to pasture and some may need to be put down. It all depends on the severity of the disorder and if you can detect it in time, also keep a good eye on your horses legs while brushing them or picking out their feet. Polo’s and sport medicine boots can improve the level of comfort for a hose especially with the uneven of pain but may only be left on for a max of 12 hours a day.

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  1. Very good article. I am very proud that my three horses seem to be very healthy.

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