Subchondral cystic lesions of the proximal extremity of the tibia in horses: 12 cases (1983–2000)

Jamie A. Textor Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Alan J. Nixon Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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 BVSc, MS, DACVS
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Jonathan Lumsden Randwick Equine Centre, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia.

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Normand G. Ducharme Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine clinical and radiographic features of subchondral cystic lesions (SCL) of the proximal extremity of the tibia in horses that could be used to classify these lesions as being related to osteochondrosis or osteoarthritis and to evaluate results of surgical debridement.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—12 horses with 14 SCL.

Procedure—Medical records and radiographs obtained before and after treatment were reviewed.

Results—In 6 young horses (8 lesions), SCL were considered to be related to osteochondrosis; all involved the lateral tibial condyle. The remaining 6 horses were mature and had radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis in addition to SCL. Arthroscopic debridement was performed in 4 horses in which lesions were considered to be a result of osteochondrosis and in 3 horses with osteoarthritis. Three horses in which SCL were considered to be a result of osteochondrosis performed athletically after debridement. Two horses with moderate osteoarthritis returned to work after arthroscopic debridement but at a lower level of athletic performance. One horse with SCL related to osteochondrosis responded to medical treatment and went on to race.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that arthroscopic debridement of SCL is feasible in horses in which lesions involve the cranial portion of the lateral or medial tibial condyle, and that treated horses may be able to perform athletically. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:408–413)

Abstract

Objective—To determine clinical and radiographic features of subchondral cystic lesions (SCL) of the proximal extremity of the tibia in horses that could be used to classify these lesions as being related to osteochondrosis or osteoarthritis and to evaluate results of surgical debridement.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—12 horses with 14 SCL.

Procedure—Medical records and radiographs obtained before and after treatment were reviewed.

Results—In 6 young horses (8 lesions), SCL were considered to be related to osteochondrosis; all involved the lateral tibial condyle. The remaining 6 horses were mature and had radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis in addition to SCL. Arthroscopic debridement was performed in 4 horses in which lesions were considered to be a result of osteochondrosis and in 3 horses with osteoarthritis. Three horses in which SCL were considered to be a result of osteochondrosis performed athletically after debridement. Two horses with moderate osteoarthritis returned to work after arthroscopic debridement but at a lower level of athletic performance. One horse with SCL related to osteochondrosis responded to medical treatment and went on to race.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that arthroscopic debridement of SCL is feasible in horses in which lesions involve the cranial portion of the lateral or medial tibial condyle, and that treated horses may be able to perform athletically. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:408–413)

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