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Fragmentation of the proximal tubercle of the talus in horses: 9 cases (2004–2010)

Pablo EspinosaDépartement de sciences cliniques, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Mathieu LacourtDépartement de sciences cliniques, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Kate AlexanderDépartement de sciences cliniques, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Florent DavidDépartement de sciences cliniques, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Sheila LavertyDépartement de sciences cliniques, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, St-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Abstract

Objective—To identify the prevalence of fragmentation of the proximal tubercle of the talus (FPTT) in a hospital population of horses, characterize the anatomic features of the affected area and fragments, and describe clinical findings, diagnosis, treatment, and outcome for horses with FPTT.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—9 horses with FPTT.

Procedures—2,543 radiographic views of the tarsal region of 1,526 horses that were evaluated between June 2004 and December 2010 were reviewed. Medical case records for horses with detectable FPTT were retrieved, and signalment, history, clinical signs, diagnostic methods, treatment, and outcome were recorded for assessment.

Results—9 horses (median age, 5 years; age range, 1 to 12 years) with FPTT were identified. Seven horses were warmbloods. Diagnosis was made on the basis of radiographic findings, occasionally along with results of ultrasonography and CT. The only horse that was lame in the affected limb had a history of a prior traumatic event and resultant lateral tibial malleolus fracture. One horse underwent arthroscopy, but fragments were not found and were presumed to be extra-articular. Outcome was available for 7 horses; mean ± SD duration of stable radiographic and clinical examination findings was 3 ± 1 years (range, 1 to 4 years).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—FPTT appeared to occur more frequently in warmbloods and was not usually associated with lameness. Affected horses remained clinically and radiographically stable over time. These data have provided some information regarding the importance of FPTT for practitioners who perform radiographic screenings during prepurchase examinations.

Abstract

Objective—To identify the prevalence of fragmentation of the proximal tubercle of the talus (FPTT) in a hospital population of horses, characterize the anatomic features of the affected area and fragments, and describe clinical findings, diagnosis, treatment, and outcome for horses with FPTT.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—9 horses with FPTT.

Procedures—2,543 radiographic views of the tarsal region of 1,526 horses that were evaluated between June 2004 and December 2010 were reviewed. Medical case records for horses with detectable FPTT were retrieved, and signalment, history, clinical signs, diagnostic methods, treatment, and outcome were recorded for assessment.

Results—9 horses (median age, 5 years; age range, 1 to 12 years) with FPTT were identified. Seven horses were warmbloods. Diagnosis was made on the basis of radiographic findings, occasionally along with results of ultrasonography and CT. The only horse that was lame in the affected limb had a history of a prior traumatic event and resultant lateral tibial malleolus fracture. One horse underwent arthroscopy, but fragments were not found and were presumed to be extra-articular. Outcome was available for 7 horses; mean ± SD duration of stable radiographic and clinical examination findings was 3 ± 1 years (range, 1 to 4 years).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—FPTT appeared to occur more frequently in warmbloods and was not usually associated with lameness. Affected horses remained clinically and radiographically stable over time. These data have provided some information regarding the importance of FPTT for practitioners who perform radiographic screenings during prepurchase examinations.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Espinosa's present address is Milton Equine Hospital, 10207 Guelph Line, Campbellville, ON L0P 1B0, Canada.

Dr. David's present address is Large Animal Surgery, Veterinary Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.

Presented in abstract form at the World Equestrian Veterinary Association Congress, Hyderabad, India, November 2011.

Address correspondence to Dr. Espinosa (pablosvet@gmail.com).