DSLD is also known as ESPA
It is thought that DSLD is an inherited defect although some DSLD is environmental. No genetic test has been developed for DSLD to date.
DSLD/ESPA is a disease that affects the connective tissue (tendons & ligaments) and symptoms usually appear outwardly in the suspensory ligaments or tendons of lower legs, especially the fetlock area. DSLD horses pasterns are usually parallel to the ground. Also post legged is another common symptom of DSLD. Other subtle signs maybe be seen before the legs are affected outwardly.
FLEX TEST & ULTRASOUND are used to confirm DSLD Diagnosis.Flex test of fetlock joints, ultrasound of suspensories. Dsld horses will fail the flex test in two or more legs. Palpation of suspensories will find them to be very hard & taut, maybe lumpy from calcification or could be mushy. Pain response is also noted.IRON BLOOD TESTING - Many DSLD horses have high iron levels and low magnesium levels.
DSLD is a progressive condition and there is not much in the way of effective treatment.