What is DSLD in Horses?

Some equine diseases can be cured and some cannot. Unfortunately, DSLD in horses is one that cannot. DSLD, or degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis, is a relatively newly discovered equine disease that causes lameness in horses.


DSLD in Horses: What is DSLD?

Degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis, or DSLD, is a genetic degenerative condition that causes the horse’s ligaments to permanently inflame and stretch out.  This condition occurs over the course of a horse’s life and cannot be reversed.

DSLD in Horses: What Causes DSLD?

DSLD is a hereditary disease.  So, horses develop DLSD due to genetics and breeding. There’s nothing a horse can do to either develop or not develop DLSD;  they simply get it because it was in the genes of their sire or dam.

DSLD in Horses: Can DSLD Be Treated?

As I’ve stated above, DLSD cannot be cured.  There is no way to reverse the damage that has already happened in a horse’s ligaments.  There are, however, ways to treat horses with DSLD, in order to alleviate their pain and slow down the progression of the disease.

How to Handle a Horse with DSLD

The best way to handle a horse with DSLD is to try to keep him comfortable.  Simply put, DSLD horses will never be entirely comfortable like a completely sound, healthy horse.  But, they can be kept comfortable enough to be pasture pets and companions.

Research continues to be done on DSLD to this day.  Maybe someday there will be a cure, but for now, the best we can do is to try to keep horses with DSLD comfortable and happy! And, there are many kinds of treatments that can help with this.


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