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Abstract

Objective—To determine effects of treadmill exercise on subchondral bone of carpal and metacarpophalangeal joints of 2-year-old horses.

Animals—12 healthy 2-year-old horses.

Procedure—Horses were randomly assigned to the control (n = 6) or exercised (6) groups. Horses in the exercised group ran on a high-speed treadmill 5 d/wk for 6 months. Horses in the control group were hand walked for the same amount of time. Results of clinical, radiographic, nuclear scintigraphic, and computed tomographic examinations, and serum and synovial concentrations of biochemical markers of bone metabolism were compared between groups.

Results—Exercised horses were significantly lamer at the end of the study than control horses. Radionuclide uptake in the metacarpal condyles, but not in the carpal joints, was greater in exercised horses, compared with control horses. Exercised horses also had a higher subchondral bone density in the metacarpal condyles than control horses, but such differences were not detected in the carpal bones.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—None of the diagnostic techniques evaluated was sufficiently sensitive to detect all osteochondral damage. Computed tomography and computed tomographic osteoabsorptiometry were superior to conventional radiography for detecting small osteochondral fragments. Nuclear scintigraphy was a sensitive indicator of subchondral bone change but lacked specificity for describing lesions and discerning normal bone remodeling from damage. Newer techniques such as computed tomography may help clinicians better diagnose early and subtle joint lesions in horses prior to development of gross joint damage. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:1252–1258)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether serum concentrations of biomarkers of skeletal metabolism can, in conjunction with radiographic evaluation, indicate severity of osteochondrosis in developing horses.

Animals—43 Dutch Warmblood foals with varying severity of osteochondrosis.

Procedure—24 foals were monitored for 5 months and 19 foals were monitored for 11 months. Monthly radiographs of femoropatellar-femorotibial and tibiotarsal joints were graded for osteochondral abnormalities. Serial blood samples were assayed for 8 cartilage and bone biomarkers. At the end of the monitoring period, foals were examined for macroscopic osteochondrosis lesions.

Results—Temporal relationships were evident between certain serum biomarkers and osteochondrosis severity in foals during their first year. Biomarkers of collagen degradation (collagenasegenerated neoepitopes of type-II collagen fragments, type-I and -II collagen fragments [COL2-3/4Cshort], and cross-linked telopeptide fragments of type-I collagen) and bone mineralization (osteocalcin) were positive indicators of osteochondrosis severity at 5 months of age. In foals with lesions at 11 months of age, osteochondrosis severity correlated negatively with COL2-3/4Cshort and osteocalcin and positively with C-propeptide of type-II procollagen (CPII), a collagen synthesis marker. Radiographic grading of osteochondrosis lesions significantly correlated with macroscopic osteochondrosis severity score at both ages and was strongest when combined with osteocalcin at 5 months and CPII at 11 months.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The ability of serum biomarkers to indicate osteochondrosis severity appears to depend on stage of disease and is strengthened with radiography. In older foals with more permanent lesions, osteochondrosis severity is significantly related to biomarker concentrations of decreased bone formation and increased cartilage synthesis. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:143–150)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To develop an in vitro model of cartilage injury in full-thickness equine cartilage specimens that can be used to simulate in vivo disease and evaluate treatment efficacy.

Sample—15 full-thickness cartilage explants from the trochlear ridges of the distal aspect of the femur from each of 6 adult horses that had died from reasons unrelated to the musculoskeletal system.

Procedures—To simulate injury, cartilage explants were subjected to single-impact uniaxial compression to 50%, 60%, 70%, or 80% strain at a rate of 100% strain/s. Other explants were left uninjured (control specimens). All specimens underwent a culture process for 28 days and were subsequently evaluated histologically for characteristics of injury and early stages of osteoarthritis, including articular surface damage, chondrocyte cell death, focal cell loss, chondrocyte cluster formation, and loss of the extracellular matrix molecules aggrecan and types I and II collagen.

Results—Compression to all degrees of strain induced some amount of pathological change typical of clinical osteoarthritis in horses; however, only compression to 60% strain induced significant changes morphologically and biochemically in the extracellular matrix.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The threshold strain necessary to model injury in full-thickness cartilage specimens from the trochlear ridges of the distal femur of adult horses was 60% strain at a rate of 100% strain/s. This in vitro model should facilitate study of pathophysiologic changes and therapeutic interventions for osteoarthritis.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the effect of underwater treadmill exercise on static postural sway in horses with experimentally induced carpal joint osteoarthritis under various stance conditions.

Animals—16 horses.

Procedures—On day 0, osteoarthritis was induced arthroscopically in 1 randomly selected middle carpal joint of each horse. Beginning on day 15, horses were assigned to either underwater or overground (without water) treadmill exercise at the same speed, frequency, and duration. Two serial force platforms were used to collect postural sway data from each horse on study days −7, 14, 42, and 70. Horses were made to stand stationary on the force platforms under 3 stance conditions: normal square stance, base-narrow placement of the thoracic limbs, and removal of visual cues (blindfolded) during a normal square stance. The mean of 3 consecutive, 10-second trials in each condition was calculated and used for analysis.

Results—Displacement of the center of pressure differed significantly depending on the stance condition. Among horses exercised on the underwater treadmill, postural stability in both the base-narrow and blindfolded stance conditions improved, compared with findings for horses exercised on the overground treadmill. Horses exercised on the overground treadmill were only successful at maintaining a stable center of pressure during the normal square stance position.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Variations in stance position had profound effects on the mechanics of standing balance in horses with experimentally induced carpal joint osteoarthritis. Underwater treadmill exercise significantly improved the horses’ postural stability, which is fundamental in providing evidence-based support for equine aquatic exercise.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine kinematic changes to the hoof of horses at a trot after induction of unilateral, weight-bearing forelimb lameness and to determine whether hoof kinematics return to prelameness values after perineural anesthesia.

Animals—6 clinically normal Quarter Horses.

Procedures—For each horse, a sole-pressure model was used to induce 3 grades (grades 1, 2, and 3) of lameness in the right forelimb, after which perineural anesthesia was administered to alleviate lameness. Optical kinematics were obtained for both forelimbs with the horse trotting before (baseline) and after induction of each grade of lameness and after perineural anesthesia. Hoof events were identified with linear acceleration profiles, and each stride was divided into hoof-contact, break-over, initial-swing, terminal-swing, and total-swing segments. For each segment, kinematic variables were compared within and between limbs by use of mixed repeated-measures ANOVA.

Results—During hoof-contact, the left (nonlame) forelimb hoof had greater heel-down orientation than did the right (lame) forelimb hoof, and during break-over, the nonlame hoof went through a larger range of motion than did the lame hoof. Maximum cranial acceleration during break-over for the lame hoof was greater, compared with that at baseline or for the nonlame hoof. Following perineural anesthesia, the sagittal plane orientation of the hoof during hoof-contact did not vary between the lame and nonlame limbs; however, interlimb differences in maximum cranial acceleration and angular range of motion during break-over remained.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that hoof kinematics may be useful for detection of unilateral, weight-bearing forelimb lameness in horses that are trotting.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine kinematic changes to the hoof of horses at a walk after induction of unilateral, weight-bearing forelimb lameness and to determine whether hoof kinematics return to prelameness (baseline) values after perineural anesthesia.

Animals—6 clinically normal Quarter Horses.

Procedures—For each horse, a sole-pressure model was used to induce 3 grades of lameness in the right forelimb, after which perineural anesthesia was administered to eliminate lameness. Optical kinematics were obtained for both forelimbs with the horse walking before (baseline) and after induction of each grade of lameness and after perineural anesthesia. Linear acceleration profiles were used to identify hoof events, and each stride was divided into hoof-contact, break-over, initial-swing, terminal-swing, and total-swing segments. Kinematic variables were compared within and between limbs for each segment by use of mixed repeated-measures ANOVA.

Results—During the hoof-contact and terminal-swing segments, the hoof of the left (nonlame) forelimb had greater sagittal-plane orientation than did the hoof of the right (lame) forelimb. For the lame limb following lameness induction, the break-over duration and maximum cranial acceleration were increased from baseline. After perineural anesthesia, break-over duration for the lame limb returned to a value similar to that at baseline, and orientation of the hoof during the terminal-swing segment did not differ between the lame and nonlame limbs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Subclinical unilateral forelimb lameness resulted in significant alterations to hoof kinematics in horses that are walking, and the use of hoof kinematics may be beneficial for the detection of subclinical lameness in horses.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To assess the clinical, biochemical, and histologic effects of topically administered diclofenac liposomal cream (DLC) in the treatment of horses with experimentally induced osteoarthritis.

Animals—24 horses.

Procedures—Osteoarthritis was induced arthroscopically in 1 middle carpal joint of all horses. Eight horses treated with DLC were given 7.3 g twice daily via topical application. Eight horses treated with phenylbutazone were given 2 g orally once daily. Eight control horses received no treatment. Evaluations included clinical, radiographic, magnetic reso-nance imaging, synovial fluid, gross, and histologic examinations as well as histochemical and biochemical analyses.

Results—No adverse treatment-related events were detected. Horses that were treated with DLC or phenylbutazone had significant clinical improvement of lameness, unlike the control horses. Treatment with DLC induced significant improvement in staining and total articular glycosaminoglycan content, compared with no treatment. Treatment with phen-ylbutazone induced significant reduction in synovial fluid prostaglandin E2 concentration, compared with DLC and no treatment. Treatment with DLC induced significantly less radial carpal bone sclerosis and overall gross cartilage erosion, compared with phenylbutazone.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that DLC had both clinical sign–modifying and disease-modifying effects. Only clinical sign–modifying effects were detected in association with phenylbutazone administration. Treatment with DLC had significant beneficial effects, compared with phenylbutazone, and no detrimental effects. Results suggested that DLC is a viable therapeutic option for horses with osteoarthritis.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate whether cutting equine subchondral bone to demarcate specific regions of interest (ROIs) influences the mean density for that bone as measured via quantitative computed tomography (QCT).

Sample population—2 metacarpophalangeal joints from equine cadavers.

Procedures—The distal portion of the third metacarpal bone of each intact metacarpophalangeal joint was scanned via CT to simulate in vivo conditions. Each joint was subsequently disarticulated and dissected, and the distal portion of the dissected third metacarpal bone in air was scanned. Then, six 1-cm2 areas representing ROIs were cut into the distal condylar surfaces to depths of approximately 1 cm, and the bone was scanned again. Three-dimensional CT models of the 3 bone preparations were generated for each third metacarpal bone on the basis of data from each set of scan images, and densities of the 6 ROIs were measured. Mean bone densities for the 6 ROIs were compared among models of intact, dissected, and cut third metacarpal bone scans.

Results—Mean bone density was significantly lower in cut bone preparations, compared with that in intact or dissected bone. Differences between mean bone densities for intact and dissected bone preparations were not significant.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cutting subchondral bone to demarcate specific ROIs prior to CT imaging significantly lowered mean bone density as measured via QCT and thus introduced substantial artifacts. These findings have direct implications on techniques for CT modeling of equine subchondral bone in the characterization of joint diseases in horses.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether muscle moment arms at the carpal and metacarpophalangeal joints can be modeled as fixed-radius pulleys for the range of motion associated with the stance phase of the gait in equine forelimbs.

Sample Population—4 cadaveric forelimbs from 2 healthy Thoroughbreds.

Procedure—Thin wire cables were sutured at the musculotendinous junction of 9 forelimb muscles. The cables passed through eyelets at each muscle's origin, wrapped around single-turn potentiometers, and were loaded. Tendon excursions, measured as the changes in lengths of the cables, were recorded during manual rotation of the carpal (180° to 70°) and metacarpophalangeal (220° to 110°) joints. Extension of the metacarpophalangeal joint (180° and 220°) was forced with an independent loading frame. Joint angle was monitored with a calibrated potentiometer. Moment arms were calculated from the slopes of the muscle length versus joint angle curves.

Results—At the metacarpophalangeal joint, digital flexor muscle moment arms changed in magnitude by ≤ 38% during metacarpophalangeal joint extension. Extensor muscle moment arms at the carpal and metacarpophalangeal joints also varied (≤ 41% at the carpus) over the range of joint motion associated with the stance phase of the gait.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Our findings suggest that, apart from the carpal flexor muscles, muscle moment arms in equine forelimbs cannot be modeled as fixed-radius pulleys. Assuming that muscle moment arms at the carpal and metacarpophalangeal joints have constant magnitudes may lead to erroneous estimates of muscle forces in equine forelimbs. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:351–357)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate use of technetium Tc 99m disodium hydroxymethylene diphosphonate (99m-Tc- HDP) for assessing fracture healing and 99m-Tc-HDP and technetium Tc 99m ciprofloxacin (99m-Tc-CIPRO) for early diagnosis of osteomyelitis in rabbits.

Animals—32 skeletally mature New Zealand White rabbits.

Procedure—A femoral fracture defect stabilized with bone plates and cortical screws was used. Scintigraphy was performed 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks after surgery. The 99m-Tc-CIPRO scan was performed 48 hours after the 99m-Tc-HDP scan. The uptake ratio of the experimental limb to the normal limb was calculated by use of multiple regions of interest. Results of radiography performed to determine external callus and lysis grade and percentage defect ossification at 16 weeks were compared with scintigraphy results.

Results—Infected fractures had a higher uptake ratio for 99m-Tc-HDP and 99m-Tc-CIPRO than noninfected fractures. Infected fractures could be differentiated from noninfected fractures late in healing by use of 99m-Tc-HDP. Although 99m-Tc-CIPRO was better than 99m-Tc-HDP for identifying infection, there was a high incidence of false positive and negative results with 99m-Tc-CIPRO. There was an association between 99m-Tc-HDP uptake ratio and callus formation and a good correlation between 99m-Tc-HDP uptake ratio and defect ossification after 4 weeks.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—99m-Tc-HDP and 99m-Tc-CIPRO may be useful for diagnosing osteomyelitis late in fracture healing; however, false positive and false negative results occur. Technetium Tc 99m disodium hydroxymethylene diphosphonate may be useful for evaluating fracture healing. ( Am J Vet Res 2003;64:736–745)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research