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Equine Health Resource

Subchondral Bone Cyst, Stifle

Synonyms: OCD, Osteochondrosis of Stifle, SBC

This is a defect in the bone scaffolding underlying the cartilage in the stifle joint. It causes collapse of the overlying cartilage, arthritis and pain in the joint. The location of this condition is usually the medial condyle of the femur.

This is mostly a radiographic diagnosis, appearing as a dark “hole” within the ball at the end of the femur in stifle radiographs.

This is most often a problem found in young horses, usually detected when a horse is put into work and lameness is noticed, prompting a veterinary lameness exam.

This is considered a type of osteochondrosis, which is failure of normal development of the structure of the joint.


Osteochondrosis and the factors that lead to its development is not completely understood. There are no doubt genetic, nutritional and management factors that relate to the development of this problem.

Choose lines of horses that do not have a high incidence of the condition.

Provide appropriate nutrition to pregnant mares and growing foals. Do not overfeed or overnourish growing foals.

Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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