Contracted Tendons in Horses

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Flexural Deformity in Horses


Contracted tendons refer to a condition that is seen in very young foals. This is a condition that is present at birth and is an autosomal recessive genetic trait. It is one of the most common musculoskeletal problems seen in foals and can vary in severity from very mild to severe enough to prevent the foal from standing and nursing. Treatment and prognosis depend on the level of severity of this condition.


Symptoms and Types


This is a congenital condition, appearing at birth. Those affected will be unable to bear full weight on the affected limb. The most common joints affected are the fetlocks and carpal joints, usually in the front legs. One or more joints may be affected and more than one leg can be affected. The joint will appear tightly flexed and the foal will be unable to straighten it.




This condition is due to an autosomal recessive trait, meaning that it is genetic, but is not sex-linked. Position of the fetus in utero may also contribute to this condition.




Although this condition is visibly obvious, it is still important for the affected foal to be seen by an experienced equine veterinarian. X-ray images will show a detailed picture of the exact nature of the deformity, allowing your veterinarian to determine if other musculoskeletal problems are present.