(Science: veterinary) A disease of horses characterised by a bony swelling developed on the hock as the result of inflammation of the bones; also, the swelling itself. The resulting lameness is due to the inflammation, and not the bony tumour as popularly supposed. Bog spavin, a soft swelling produced by distention of the capsular ligament of the hock; called also blood spavin. Bone spavin, spavin attended with exostosis; ordinary spavin.
Origin: OE. Spaveyne, OF. Esparvain, F. Eparvin; akin to OF. Espervier a sparrow hawk, F. Epervier, fr. OHG. Sparwari (G. Sperber), fr. OHG. Sparo sparrow, because this disease makes the horse raise the infirm leg in the manner of a sparrow hawk or sparrow. See Sparrow.