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Peripheral neuropathy of a forelimb in horses: 27 cases (2000–2013)

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  • 1 CIRALE, Unité 957, BPLC, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort, 14430 Goustranville, France.
  • | 2 CIRALE, Unité 957, BPLC, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort, 14430 Goustranville, France.
  • | 3 CIRALE, Unité 957, BPLC, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort, 14430 Goustranville, France.
  • | 4 CIRALE, Unité 957, BPLC, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort, 14430 Goustranville, France.
  • | 5 CIRALE, Unité 957, BPLC, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort, 14430 Goustranville, France.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To describe the clinical features, diagnostic procedures, management, and outcome of horses with peripheral neuropathy of a forelimb.

DESIGN Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS 27 horses.

PROCEDURES Records from 2000 to 2013 were reviewed to identify horses with peripheral neuropathy of a forelimb. Horses were grouped as having predominant lesions of a suprascapular nerve, axillary nerve, or radial nerve (alone or in association with other brachial plexus nerves) on the basis of physical examination and diagnostic imaging findings. Treatments were primarily conservative. Signalment, history, lameness characteristics, diagnostic imaging features, case management, and outcomes were evaluated.

RESULTS Predominant lesions of a suprascapular nerve, axillary nerve, and radial nerve were identified in 11, 2, and 14 horses, respectively. Eight horses with predominant suprascapular nerve injury and 9 with injury to a radial nerve alone or in association with other nerves returned to their previous activity level or intended use after mean recovery periods of 9.3 and 13.3 months, respectively; 2 horses with a predominant axillary nerve injury had this outcome after a mean 3.5-month recovery period. Ultrasonography was useful for evaluation of muscle atrophy and other injuries during the initial examination (in 27 horses) and the rehabilitation period (in 7 horses).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Most horses with peripheral neuropathy of a forelimb returned to athletic soundness following an adequate period of rest. Horses with lesions of a radial nerve alone or in association with other nerves typically required longer recovery times than did those with predominant injuries of a suprascapular nerve.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To describe the clinical features, diagnostic procedures, management, and outcome of horses with peripheral neuropathy of a forelimb.

DESIGN Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS 27 horses.

PROCEDURES Records from 2000 to 2013 were reviewed to identify horses with peripheral neuropathy of a forelimb. Horses were grouped as having predominant lesions of a suprascapular nerve, axillary nerve, or radial nerve (alone or in association with other brachial plexus nerves) on the basis of physical examination and diagnostic imaging findings. Treatments were primarily conservative. Signalment, history, lameness characteristics, diagnostic imaging features, case management, and outcomes were evaluated.

RESULTS Predominant lesions of a suprascapular nerve, axillary nerve, and radial nerve were identified in 11, 2, and 14 horses, respectively. Eight horses with predominant suprascapular nerve injury and 9 with injury to a radial nerve alone or in association with other nerves returned to their previous activity level or intended use after mean recovery periods of 9.3 and 13.3 months, respectively; 2 horses with a predominant axillary nerve injury had this outcome after a mean 3.5-month recovery period. Ultrasonography was useful for evaluation of muscle atrophy and other injuries during the initial examination (in 27 horses) and the rehabilitation period (in 7 horses).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Most horses with peripheral neuropathy of a forelimb returned to athletic soundness following an adequate period of rest. Horses with lesions of a radial nerve alone or in association with other nerves typically required longer recovery times than did those with predominant injuries of a suprascapular nerve.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Emond's present address is Cabinet vétérinaire, 15 avenue André Fleury, 60500 Chantilly, France.

Dr Seignour's present address is Cabinet Vétérinaire Equiveto, Haras d'Obtrée, 577, chemin de St-Augustin, 83260 La Crau, France.

Address correspondence to Dr. Emond (anne-laure.emond@laposte.net).