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Bog spavin: recognising the problem is the first step towards recovery
  1. Bryan O'Meara, MVB, CertES(Orth), MRCVS
  1. Equine Department, Donnington Grove Veterinary Surgery, Oxford Road, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JB, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence bryanomeara{at}

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BOG spavin is essentially an effusion of the tarsocrural joint. This amounts to a distension of the dorsal joint capsule most notably medially and distension of the plantar joint pouches. Joint effusion is reflective of synovitis and this may be caused by a variety of joint-related pathologies.

An effused tarsocrural joint is very often reflective of osteochondrosis within the tarsocrural joint (Brink and others 2010). Loose or free osteochondral fragmentation, because of the failure of endochondral ossification, results in synovitis and may cause osteoarthritis and lameness (McIlwraith and others 2005).

In a paper summarised on p 286 of this week's Veterinary Record, Weaver and Wilant (2012) explore Clydesdale owners' views on bog spavin. The results of their survey indicate that Clydesdale owners have an interest in reducing the incidence of tarsocrural effusion in …

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