Three posts back I mentioned that Raven is moderately affected by DSLD (degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis). This anecdotal diagnoses was independently made by both Christina and Kerstin not long after Raven arrived. To be absolutely sure we would need to have a tissue test done to assess the degree to which collagen has been replaced with cartilage in her ligaments. The results of a veterinary flex test and ultrasound have been inconclusive.
From my perspective Raven has three symptoms of DSLD -- she (1) is coon-footed on the hinds, (2) is uncomfortable holding them up to be picked/trimmed, and (3) will sometimes dig holes so that she can stand with her toes pointed into them. Raven does not:
- have a particularly post-legged conformation
- trip or stumble with any regularity
- spend an unusual amount of time lying down
- have lumpy wind-puffy "sweet potato" fetlock joints
- lean on fences or rock when standing
- drop weight quickly or have unusually loose skin
- refuse to canter (this is her preferred gait)
- come up lame after riding or refuse any gait under saddle
It's possible that Raven merely suffers from poor conformation -- coon-footed thoroughbreds are not uncommon. I believe that she probably does have DSLD (because of the hole-digging) but I do not believe that it is serious or degenerative at this time. So far we have seen nothing but improvement in symptoms (2) and (3), and it was almost a non-issue until the hock injury. Assuming that she recovers to her pre-injury condition it will continue to be a non-issue until I see further evidence of symptoms or a real deterioration in the quality of her joints.