Horse First Cuppra Copper. Copper deficiency is implicated in the seriously debilitating and crippling lameness in horses Developmental Orthopedic Disease (DOD). While DOD has more than one cause, copper deficiency is a primary cause of the problem since copper is essential for the synthesis and maintenance of elastic connective tissue and for the conversion of cartilage to bone. Dr Mark Hurting tested two groups of three-month old foals fed diets containing different quantities of copper. At the start of the trial all major joints were X rayed (Knees, hocks, fetlocks, shoulders and neck vertebrae), it was discovered that many of the test foals were already suffering from DOD lesions. One group of foals was placed on a low-copper diet containing 7 milligrams per kilogram of feed. while the other group received a supplement of 30 milligrams per kilogram. The low-copper foals displayed dull coats and clinical symptoms of DOD, such as physitis, intermittent joint effusion, and lameness and upright pasterns indicating the beginnings of flexural deformities. Foals on the high-copper diet showed no clinical lameness or other DOD symptoms. At five months of age, the foals were X rayed again. Normal growth rates in both groups were observed but several startling observations were made. Foals on the high-copper diet that had entered the program with OCD lesions showed a normalization and steady elimination of those lesions. On the other hand the low-copper foals had profuse, characteristic OCD lesions.