Are limb deformities a common problem in foals?

  • Yes, a very high percentage of foals are born each year with crooked legs or limb deviations/deformities.
  • The main reason is that foals have disproportionately long legs and these elongated limbs often appear crooked.
  • These deformities or Angular Limb Deviations (ALD), are due mostly to ligament laxity and muscle weakness.
  • In the majority of cases, nature ensures that the legs will eventually straighten.
  • However, in some cases additional factors are involved and the limbs may fail to improve.
  • If the deformity is mild, it may only be an insignificant conformational fault.
  • But if it is severe then it may compromise the foal’s future athletic potential.
  • Horses are bred to be athletes therefore the straightness of their limbs and the placement of their feet are important, to avoid joint problems, lameness and premature retirement.
  • Are (ALD) limb deviations in foals usually acquired or are they born with them?