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Use of non–contrast-enhanced computed tomography to identify deep digital flexor tendinopathy in horses with lameness: 28 cases (2014–2016)

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  • 1 1Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164.

Abstract

Objective

To describe the use of non–contrast-enhanced CT to identify deep digital flexor (DDF) tendinopathy in horses with lameness attributed to pain in regions distal to the metatarsophalangeal or metacarpophalangeal joints.

DESIGN

Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS

28 client-owned horses.

PROCEDURES

Medical records were searched to identify horses that underwent non–contrast-enhanced CT with or without high-field MRI as part of an evaluation for lameness localized to areas distal to the metacarpophalangeal or metatarsophalangeal joint in ≥ 1 limb. Horses were included in the study if they had ≥ 1 DDF tendon lesion (DDF tendinopathy) identified. Signalment, lameness examination findings and response to perineural anesthesia, imaging modality, anesthetic agents and duration of anesthesia, and imaging findings were recorded. Data were summarized descriptively.

RESULTS

Bilateral imaging was performed for all horses, irrespective of unilateral or bilateral lameness. Nine of 28 horses underwent both CT and MRI, and all DDF tendon lesions identified by one modality were identified by the other. Of 48 limbs with DDF tendinopathy, 46 (96%) had core lesions and 35 (73%) had dorsal border irregularities. Median anesthesia time for CT and CT followed by MRI was 15 and 110 minutes, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested that non–contrast-enhanced CT was useful for identifying DDF tendinopathy in horses with lameness localized to the phalangeal regions, and this was supported by consistency of findings in a subset of horses that underwent MRI. Further research is needed to confirm these results.

Abstract

Objective

To describe the use of non–contrast-enhanced CT to identify deep digital flexor (DDF) tendinopathy in horses with lameness attributed to pain in regions distal to the metatarsophalangeal or metacarpophalangeal joints.

DESIGN

Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS

28 client-owned horses.

PROCEDURES

Medical records were searched to identify horses that underwent non–contrast-enhanced CT with or without high-field MRI as part of an evaluation for lameness localized to areas distal to the metacarpophalangeal or metatarsophalangeal joint in ≥ 1 limb. Horses were included in the study if they had ≥ 1 DDF tendon lesion (DDF tendinopathy) identified. Signalment, lameness examination findings and response to perineural anesthesia, imaging modality, anesthetic agents and duration of anesthesia, and imaging findings were recorded. Data were summarized descriptively.

RESULTS

Bilateral imaging was performed for all horses, irrespective of unilateral or bilateral lameness. Nine of 28 horses underwent both CT and MRI, and all DDF tendon lesions identified by one modality were identified by the other. Of 48 limbs with DDF tendinopathy, 46 (96%) had core lesions and 35 (73%) had dorsal border irregularities. Median anesthesia time for CT and CT followed by MRI was 15 and 110 minutes, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested that non–contrast-enhanced CT was useful for identifying DDF tendinopathy in horses with lameness localized to the phalangeal regions, and this was supported by consistency of findings in a subset of horses that underwent MRI. Further research is needed to confirm these results.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Jones's present address is San Luis Rey Equine Hospital, 4211 Holly Ln, Bonsall, CA 92003.

Address correspondence to Dr. Ragle (ragle@wsu.edu).