June: Churro – Tendon Laxity

Churro was born on June 1st this year. When he was born his owner contacted the clinic because his front legs didn’t look the way they should. Churro was born with angular limb deformities of both of his forelimbs, focussed at his carpi (knees). These deformities can result in some very abnormal-looking limbs in foals and depending on the cause the deformity may last into adulthood if not addressed early and appropriately. The causes of these deformities include tendon laxity (loose tendons and weak supporting muscles), underdeveloped bones in the joint, or uneven growth of the bones of the limb.

Churro had significant tendon laxity around his carpi which allowed his joints to hyperextend backwards and collapse in towards one another – a posture known as valgus. Radiographs were taken of Churro’s knees to evaluate the development of the bones within the joint. These radiographs showed normal bones in both knees. Churro was treated by restricting his exercise for several weeks (a very difficult thing to do for a healthy, excitable new foal!) while his tendons and muscles gained the strength to hold his legs in a normal, straight posture. He is now racing around pestering his mom on lovely straight legs. We look forward to seeing what Churro grows up into!