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Tendinitis of the proximal aspect of the superficial digital flexor tendon in horses: 12 cases (2000–2006)

A. Berkley ChesenDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.

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Robin M. DabareinerDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.

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M. Keith ChaffinDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.

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G. Kent CarterDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine clinical signs, ultrasonographic findings, and outcome of horses with tendinitis of the proximal portion of the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT; group A horses) and to compare signalment, horse use, and outcome in these horses with that of horses with tendinitis of the midmetacarpal region of the SDFT (group B horses).

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—12 group A horses and 22 group B horses.

Procedures—Medical records were reviewed for signalment, horse use, and outcome information; data for group A horses also included severity of lameness, diagnostic results, and treatment.

Results—Most group A horses were aged (mean, 18 years; median, 17 years; range, 11 to 23 years) Quarter Horses (9/12 horses) and had a grade 3 or 4 (on a scale from 1 to 5) forelimb lameness. Most group A horses (8/12 horses) had positive reactions to carpal flexion and were (9/12 horses) sound following ulnar nerve blocks. Ultrasonographic evaluation revealed hypoechoic SDFT lesions (median echogenicity score, 3/4; median fiber alignment score, 3/3; and mean length, 9.75 cm). Group A horses were significantly older and had a poorer outcome for return to previous use (2/12 horses), compared with group B horses (median age, 5 years; 10/22 horses returned to previous use). Thirteen of 22 group B horses were Thoroughbreds.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Tendinitis of the proximal portion of the SDFT was a cause of lameness in aged performance horses; prognosis for return to previous use was poor.

Abstract

Objective—To determine clinical signs, ultrasonographic findings, and outcome of horses with tendinitis of the proximal portion of the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT; group A horses) and to compare signalment, horse use, and outcome in these horses with that of horses with tendinitis of the midmetacarpal region of the SDFT (group B horses).

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—12 group A horses and 22 group B horses.

Procedures—Medical records were reviewed for signalment, horse use, and outcome information; data for group A horses also included severity of lameness, diagnostic results, and treatment.

Results—Most group A horses were aged (mean, 18 years; median, 17 years; range, 11 to 23 years) Quarter Horses (9/12 horses) and had a grade 3 or 4 (on a scale from 1 to 5) forelimb lameness. Most group A horses (8/12 horses) had positive reactions to carpal flexion and were (9/12 horses) sound following ulnar nerve blocks. Ultrasonographic evaluation revealed hypoechoic SDFT lesions (median echogenicity score, 3/4; median fiber alignment score, 3/3; and mean length, 9.75 cm). Group A horses were significantly older and had a poorer outcome for return to previous use (2/12 horses), compared with group B horses (median age, 5 years; 10/22 horses returned to previous use). Thirteen of 22 group B horses were Thoroughbreds.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Tendinitis of the proximal portion of the SDFT was a cause of lameness in aged performance horses; prognosis for return to previous use was poor.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Chesen.