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Comparison of ultrasonography versus radiography for the diagnosis of dorsal fragmentation of the metacarpophalangeal or metatarsophalangeal joint in horses

Katrien VanderperrenDepartment of Veterinary Medical Imaging of Domestic Animals and Small Animal Orthopaedics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, 9820, Belgium.

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Ann M. MartensDepartment of Surgery and Anaesthesiology of Domestic Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, 9820, Belgium.

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Jeroen DeclercqDepartment of Surgery and Anaesthesiology of Domestic Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, 9820, Belgium.

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Luc DuchateauDepartment of Physiology and Biometrics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, 9820, Belgium.

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Jimmy H. SaundersDepartment of Veterinary Medical Imaging of Domestic Animals and Small Animal Orthopaedics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, 9820, Belgium.

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Abstract

Objective—To compare clinical usefulness of ultrasonography versus radiography for detection of fragmentation of the dorsal aspect of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) and metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints in horses.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—36 horses with fragmentation of the MCP (n = 19) and MTP (29) joints.

Procedures—In all joints, radiography (4 standard projections) and ultrasonography were performed prior to arthroscopic examination and fragment removal. Number and location of fragments identified radiographically and ultrasonographically were compared with arthroscopic findings.

Results—Radiographic and arthroscopic findings were in agreement with respect to both number and location of fragments in 21 of the 48 (44%) joints. Ultrasonographic and arthroscopic findings were in agreement with respect to number and location of fragments for 46 of the 48 (96%) joints. In the remaining 2 joints, arthroscopy revealed additional fragments that were not identified ultrasonographically. When ultrasonographic findings were compared with radiographic findings, more fragments were seen ultrasonographically in 3 joints and fewer fragments were seen ultrasonographically in 1 joint. Ultrasonographic findings also confirmed the absence (4 joints) or presence (3 joints) of fragmentation at the dorsoproximal aspect of the joint that had been suspected on the basis of radiographic findings. Ultrasonography was also able to determine the location of the fragments in the joints where this was not possible radiographically.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of the present study suggested that ultrasonography was a useful method for determining the number and location of fragments in horses with dorsal fragmentation of the MCP or MTP joint.

Abstract

Objective—To compare clinical usefulness of ultrasonography versus radiography for detection of fragmentation of the dorsal aspect of the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) and metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints in horses.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—36 horses with fragmentation of the MCP (n = 19) and MTP (29) joints.

Procedures—In all joints, radiography (4 standard projections) and ultrasonography were performed prior to arthroscopic examination and fragment removal. Number and location of fragments identified radiographically and ultrasonographically were compared with arthroscopic findings.

Results—Radiographic and arthroscopic findings were in agreement with respect to both number and location of fragments in 21 of the 48 (44%) joints. Ultrasonographic and arthroscopic findings were in agreement with respect to number and location of fragments for 46 of the 48 (96%) joints. In the remaining 2 joints, arthroscopy revealed additional fragments that were not identified ultrasonographically. When ultrasonographic findings were compared with radiographic findings, more fragments were seen ultrasonographically in 3 joints and fewer fragments were seen ultrasonographically in 1 joint. Ultrasonographic findings also confirmed the absence (4 joints) or presence (3 joints) of fragmentation at the dorsoproximal aspect of the joint that had been suspected on the basis of radiographic findings. Ultrasonography was also able to determine the location of the fragments in the joints where this was not possible radiographically.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of the present study suggested that ultrasonography was a useful method for determining the number and location of fragments in horses with dorsal fragmentation of the MCP or MTP joint.

Contributor Notes

Presented in part at the European Association of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging Annual Conference, Chalkidiki, Thessaloniki, Greece, August–September 2007; Hippos, the Congress of Equine Veterinarians and Farriers, Liège, Belgium, January 2008; and the 10th International Congress of the World Equine Veterinary Association, Moscow, January–February 2008.

Dr. Vanderperren was a research assistant of the Research Foundation—Flanders at the time of the study.

Address correspondence Dr. Saunders.