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The hock is the joint that is about half way down the back leg and most closely resembles the bent elbow of a human. The hock is the joint that gives the horse thrust by straightening out the leg either for forward or upward movement. Since the weight of the horse in turns and forward and upward movements is on the hock, good conformation is essential to ensure that the joint will stay strong and solid throughout the horse's life.
There are several different conformation problems that can occur, most which are congenital or are present from birth. One problem is hocks that are too straight, which is known as post legged. These horses have little thrust and often have poor pastern positioning, resulting in joint and foot problems as the horse ages.
Sickle hocks are the opposite problem to a post legged horse. A horse with sickle hocks has too much bend in the hock, leading to a bowed shape in the lower leg rather than the correct conformation. In severe cases of sickle-hock the horse appears to be pulling the bottom of the leg, known as the cannon bone, up and under the body. [...]
The Labrador Retriever is a basically healthy dog, however with any dog there are some conditions that can be problematic. The Lab, much to the credit of the breed, doesn't have some of the very serious genetic conditions found in other breeds. There are, of course, several hereditary conditions that can be difficult for the dog and the owner to deal with, however most are not life-threatening. [...]