Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Foal or Newborn, Angular Limb Deformity, ALD

Synonyms: Valgus & Varus Deformities Generally

An angular limb deformity (crooked or angled limb) is noticed when looking at an equine limb from the front or back. (Abnormalities noted when viewing equine limbs from the side are called flexural deformities.)

Angular limb can result from problems within the joint, underdeveloped small joints of the hock and carpus (seen frequently in premature or dysmature foals), or be caused by uneven growth across the growth plate (physis). Radiographs are used to help differentiate between these conditions.

In young foals, there is a short window of opportunity in which to treat angular limb deformities. Problems affecting the growth plates can be treated before they have closed. Due to this, it is important to immediately contact your vet when you first notice the problem.

Prognosis & Relevant Factors

Depends on the specific bones involved, and the severity of the abnormality. Depends on how soon the problem is appropriately treated. Once the growth plates have "closed" there is very little opportunity to help the situation.


  • Why did this happen, is it genetic?
  • If I breed this horse will this problem be passed onto their progeny?
  • Is this related to underdevelopment of the small joint bones or at the growth plate?
  • What nutritional & management changes should I make as part of treatment?
  • How much improvement can I expect with the different options?
  • What is my role in follow-up care after treatment?

    Breed and select for correct conformation. Carefully evaluate the limbs of newborn and growing foals and communicate with your vet immediately if you have any questions or concerns.

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

    Helpful Outside ResourcesCredible Equine Health Information on the Internet

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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