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Arthroscopic findings in horses with subtle radiographic evidence of osteochondral lesions of the medial femoral condyle: 15 cases (1995–2002)

Grant S. P. Scott DVM1, William H. Crawford DVM, MVSc, DACVS2,3, and Patrick T. Colahan DVM, DACVS4
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  • 1 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0136.
  • | 2 Young-Crawford Veterinary Clinic, Box 2, Site 14, RR #3, Innisfail, AB T4G 1T8, Canada.
  • | 3 Present address is 701 Redwood Dr, Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 2J2, Canada.
  • | 4 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0136.

Abstract

Objective—To determine arthroscopic findings in lame horses with subtle radiographic lesions of the medial femoral condyle.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—15 horses examined because of lameness that had subtle radiographic evidence of osteochondral lesions involving the medial femoral condyle in at least 1 joint.

Procedure—Medical records were reviewed, and results of physical examination, radiography, and arthroscopy were recorded. Follow-up information was obtained through reexamination of the horses or telephone conversations with the referring veterinarians, owners, or trainers.

Results—Lameness severity ranged from grade 1 to 3 on a scale from 0 to 5. Radiography and arthroscopy were performed on 28 stifle joints. The 4 unaffected joints in 4 horses with unilateral hind limb lameness that underwent bilateral arthroscopy had no radiographic lesions, but 2 of the 4 had arthroscopic lesions. Of the remaining 24 joints, 20 had radiographic evidence of flattening of the apex of the medial femoral condyle and 4 had minimal subchondral lucency. Lesions were identified arthroscopically in 18 of the 20 joints with flattening of the condyle and in all 4 joints with subchondral lucency. Treatment consisted of abrasion arthroplasty or microfracture. Seven of the 9 horses with focal cartilage lesions and 2 of the 6 horses with generalized cartilage lesions were reportedly sound without any evidence of joint effusion at the time of final follow-up.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that horses with hind limb lameness and subtle radiographic lesions of the medial femoral condyle are likely to have arthroscopically apparent cartilage lesions and subchondral bone defects. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:1821–1826)

Abstract

Objective—To determine arthroscopic findings in lame horses with subtle radiographic lesions of the medial femoral condyle.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—15 horses examined because of lameness that had subtle radiographic evidence of osteochondral lesions involving the medial femoral condyle in at least 1 joint.

Procedure—Medical records were reviewed, and results of physical examination, radiography, and arthroscopy were recorded. Follow-up information was obtained through reexamination of the horses or telephone conversations with the referring veterinarians, owners, or trainers.

Results—Lameness severity ranged from grade 1 to 3 on a scale from 0 to 5. Radiography and arthroscopy were performed on 28 stifle joints. The 4 unaffected joints in 4 horses with unilateral hind limb lameness that underwent bilateral arthroscopy had no radiographic lesions, but 2 of the 4 had arthroscopic lesions. Of the remaining 24 joints, 20 had radiographic evidence of flattening of the apex of the medial femoral condyle and 4 had minimal subchondral lucency. Lesions were identified arthroscopically in 18 of the 20 joints with flattening of the condyle and in all 4 joints with subchondral lucency. Treatment consisted of abrasion arthroplasty or microfracture. Seven of the 9 horses with focal cartilage lesions and 2 of the 6 horses with generalized cartilage lesions were reportedly sound without any evidence of joint effusion at the time of final follow-up.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that horses with hind limb lameness and subtle radiographic lesions of the medial femoral condyle are likely to have arthroscopically apparent cartilage lesions and subchondral bone defects. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:1821–1826)