Osteochondral fragments involving the dorsomedial aspect of the proximal interphalangeal joint in young horses: 6 cases (1997–2006)

Cathrine T. Fjordbakk Equine Teaching Hospital, Department of Companion Animal Sciences, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, N-0033 Oslo, Norway.

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Eric Strand Equine Teaching Hospital, Department of Companion Animal Sciences, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, N-0033 Oslo, Norway.

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Anne K. Milde Equine Teaching Hospital, Department of Companion Animal Sciences, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, N-0033 Oslo, Norway.

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Carl F. Ihler Equine Teaching Hospital, Department of Companion Animal Sciences, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, N-0033 Oslo, Norway.

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A. Magnus Rorvik Radiology Section, Department of Companion Animal Sciences, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, N-0033 Oslo, Norway.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine clinical and diagnostic imaging findings in young horses with osteochondral fragments involving the dorsomedial aspect of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—6 horses.

Procedures—Medical records were reviewed. Follow-up information was obtained through telephone conversations with owners or trainers or by examining race records.

Results—Horses were between 1 and 4 years old. Three had bilateral osteochondral fragments in the forelimbs (n = 2 horses) or hind limbs (1). Radiographically, all but 1 fragment seemed to originate from the dorsomedial aspect of the distal end of the first phalanx. Fragment size ranged from 6 × 9mm to 11 × 21 mm. Three horses had lameness referable to the region of the affected joint; the other 3 horses did not have clinical signs referable to affected PIP joints. Two horses were euthanized shortly after diagnosis at the owners' request because of concerns that the horses would be unsuited for their intended athletic use. Two of the 3 horses in which fragments were incidental findings were able to race successfully, although 1 received intra-articular corticosteroid treatments; the third was retired because of unrelated orthopedic problems.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that osteochondral fragments involving the dorsomedial aspect of the PIP joint may be an incidental finding in young horses. Given the absence of clinical signs in 5 of 9 affected joints and the fact that 3 of 6 horses were affected bilaterally, a developmental origin of the fragments was suspected.

Abstract

Objective—To determine clinical and diagnostic imaging findings in young horses with osteochondral fragments involving the dorsomedial aspect of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—6 horses.

Procedures—Medical records were reviewed. Follow-up information was obtained through telephone conversations with owners or trainers or by examining race records.

Results—Horses were between 1 and 4 years old. Three had bilateral osteochondral fragments in the forelimbs (n = 2 horses) or hind limbs (1). Radiographically, all but 1 fragment seemed to originate from the dorsomedial aspect of the distal end of the first phalanx. Fragment size ranged from 6 × 9mm to 11 × 21 mm. Three horses had lameness referable to the region of the affected joint; the other 3 horses did not have clinical signs referable to affected PIP joints. Two horses were euthanized shortly after diagnosis at the owners' request because of concerns that the horses would be unsuited for their intended athletic use. Two of the 3 horses in which fragments were incidental findings were able to race successfully, although 1 received intra-articular corticosteroid treatments; the third was retired because of unrelated orthopedic problems.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that osteochondral fragments involving the dorsomedial aspect of the PIP joint may be an incidental finding in young horses. Given the absence of clinical signs in 5 of 9 affected joints and the fact that 3 of 6 horses were affected bilaterally, a developmental origin of the fragments was suspected.

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