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Use of a three-drill-tract technique for arthrodesis of the distal tarsal joints in horses with distal tarsal osteoarthritis: 54 cases (1990–1999)

Julie E. Dechant DVM, MS, DACVS1,2,3, Gary M. Baxter VMD, MS, DACVS4, Louise L. Southwood BVSc, PhD, DACVS5,6, William H. Crawford DVM, MVSc, DACVS7, Bradley R. Jackman DVM, MS, DACVS8, Ted S. Stashak DVM, MS, DACVS9, Gayle W. Trotter DVM, MS, DACVS10, and Dean A. Hendrickson DVM, MS, DACVS11
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 2 Young-Crawford Veterinary Clinic, Box 2, Site 14, RR #3, Innisfail, AB T4G 1T8 Canada.
  • | 3 Present address is Boren Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 6 Present address is New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, PA 19348.
  • | 7 Young-Crawford Veterinary Clinic, Box 2, Site 14, RR #3, Innisfail, AB T4G 1T8 Canada.
  • | 8 Pioneer Equine Hospital Inc, 11501 Pioneer Ave, Oakdale, CA 95361.
  • | 9 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 10 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 11 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Abstract

Objective—To assess the long-term clinical outcome of horses with distal tarsal osteoarthritis (OA) in which a 3-drill-tract technique was used to induce arthrodesis of the affected joints, identify any preoperative or operative factors associated with outcome, and describe any complications associated with the technique.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—54 horses.

Procedure—Medical records were reviewed for information on signalment, use, history, physical and lameness examination findings, surgical technique, and postoperative care. Radiographs were examined, and severity of OA was graded. Follow-up information was obtained through telephone interviews with owners at least 13 months after the procedure.

Results—32 (59%) horses had a successful outcome, 6 (11%) improved but were not sound after surgery, and 16 (30%) did not improve following surgery. Outcome was negatively associated with the previous use of intra-articular injections. Few postoperative complications were evident.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that distal tarsal OA in horses can be successfully treated by means of distal tarsal arthrodesis with a 3-drill-tract technique. Horses with advanced distal tarsal OA are likely to have poorer outcomes, and the procedure will likely be of minimal benefit in horses with concomitant causes of hind limb lameness prior to surgery and in horses with preexisting proximal intertarsal joint disease. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003; 223;1800–1805)

Abstract

Objective—To assess the long-term clinical outcome of horses with distal tarsal osteoarthritis (OA) in which a 3-drill-tract technique was used to induce arthrodesis of the affected joints, identify any preoperative or operative factors associated with outcome, and describe any complications associated with the technique.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—54 horses.

Procedure—Medical records were reviewed for information on signalment, use, history, physical and lameness examination findings, surgical technique, and postoperative care. Radiographs were examined, and severity of OA was graded. Follow-up information was obtained through telephone interviews with owners at least 13 months after the procedure.

Results—32 (59%) horses had a successful outcome, 6 (11%) improved but were not sound after surgery, and 16 (30%) did not improve following surgery. Outcome was negatively associated with the previous use of intra-articular injections. Few postoperative complications were evident.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that distal tarsal OA in horses can be successfully treated by means of distal tarsal arthrodesis with a 3-drill-tract technique. Horses with advanced distal tarsal OA are likely to have poorer outcomes, and the procedure will likely be of minimal benefit in horses with concomitant causes of hind limb lameness prior to surgery and in horses with preexisting proximal intertarsal joint disease. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003; 223;1800–1805)