What is DSLD?
"Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Desmitis " or as
recently named: ESPA "Equine Systemic Proteoglycan Accumulation."
The symptoms of DSLD/ESPA are varied. A telling sign may be an enlarged suspensory with disruption of tissues and lesions shown on ultrasound. However, in early stages, ligaments may be enlarged but look normal in fiber without lesions. The recognizable disruption and lesions don't always appear until late in the problem. Without using the latest Protocol, today's testing methods are not adequate to verify absolute presence of DSLD-ESPA. Even ultrasound, without the operator/ reader being trained to look beyond " Disruptions and Holes" for size differences and actually make measurements, can lead to missed diagnosis for DSLD/ESPA.
Other symptoms include dropped pasterns, heat and swelling in the fetlocks,
unexplained lameness and false colics. Some horses will not show dropped
fetlocks, but a more upright presentation, and the lameness may not be
severe. Post legged stance, muscle wasting, walking wide behind,
standing in holes, stiffness when first getting up, moving slowly like
they are arthritic, stumbling, knuckling forward in the fetlock joints,
sitting on fences or the feed bucket, and failing a flex test on two or
four legs, are also seen as the problem progresses.
At present there are four crucial steps in diagnosing DSLD-ESPA:
The only absolute verification we have now is resection at necropsy. The next best is ultrasound using the Protocol. The ultimate is having a gene test, which is where most research is now focused.
To find out more about the latest research and horses diagnosed with DSLD, please visit: http://www.dsldequine.info/
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