Objective—To evaluate effects of toe grabs, exercise
intensity, and distance traveled as risk factors for subclinical
to mild suspensory apparatus injury (SMSAI)
in Thoroughbred racehorses and to compare incidence
of severe musculoskeletal injury (MSI) in horses
with and without SMSAI.
Design—Nested case-control study.
Animals—219 Thoroughbred racehorses racing or in
Procedure—Racehorses were examined weekly for
90 days to determine incidence of suspensory ligament
injury and monitor horseshoe characteristics.
Every horse's exercise speeds and distances were
recorded daily. Conditional logistic regression was
used to compare exposure variables between incident
case (n = 25) and selected control (125) horses.
Survival analysis was used to compare time to MSI
for horses with (n = 41) and without (76) SMSAI.
Results—The best-fitting logistic model for the data
included age (< 5 vs ≥ 5 years old), toe grab height the
week of injury (none vs very low, low, regular, or
Quarter Horse height), and weekly distance the week
preceding injury (miles). Although the 95% confidence
intervals for all odds ratios included 1, the odds
for SMSAI appeared to increase with the presence of
a toe grab, higher weekly distance, and age ≥ 5 years.
Horses that had SMSAI were significantly more likely
to have a severe MSI or severe suspensory apparatus
injury than were horses that did not.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest
that pre-existing SMSAI is associated with development
of severe MSI and severe suspensory apparatus
injury. Modifying training intensity and toe grab
height for horses with SMSAI may decrease the incidence
of severe MSI. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;
Objective—To compare hoof acceleration and ground reaction force (GRF) data among dirt, synthetic, and turf surfaces in Thoroughbred racehorses.
Animals—3 healthy Thoroughbred racehorses.
Procedures—Forelimb hoof accelerations and GRFs were measured with an accelerometer and a dynamometric horseshoe during trot and canter on dirt, synthetic, and turf track surfaces at a racecourse. Maxima, minima, temporal components, and a measure of vibration were extracted from the data. Acceleration and GRF variables were compared statistically among surfaces.
Results—The synthetic surface often had the lowest peak accelerations, mean vibration, and peak GRFs. Peak acceleration during hoof landing was significantly smaller for the synthetic surface (mean ± SE, 28.5g ± 2.9g) than for the turf surface (42.9g ± 3.8g). Hoof vibrations during hoof landing for the synthetic surface were < 70% of those for the dirt and turf surfaces. Peak GRF for the synthetic surface (11.5 ± 0.4 N/kg) was 83% and 71% of those for the dirt (13.8 ± 0.3 N/kg) and turf surfaces (16.1 ± 0.7 N/kg), respectively.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The relatively low hoof accelerations, vibrations, and peak GRFs associated with the synthetic surface evaluated in the present study indicated that synthetic surfaces have potential for injury reduction in Thoroughbred racehorses. However, because of the unique material properties and different nature of individual dirt, synthetic, and turf racetrack surfaces, extending the results of this study to encompass all track surfaces should be done with caution.
To compare the torsional mechanical properties of 2 external skeletal fixators (ESFs) placed with 2 intramedullary pin (IP) and transfixation pin (TP) size combinations in a model of raptor tibiotarsal bone fracture.
24 ESF-synthetic tibiotarsal bone model (polyoxymethylene) constructs.
Synthetic bone models were fabricated with an 8-mm (simulated fracture) gap. Four types of ESF-synthetic bone model constructs (6/group) were tested: a FESSA with a 1.6-mm IP and 1.6-mm TPs, a FESSA with a 2.0-mm IP and 1.1-mm TPs, an acrylic connecting bar with a 1.6-mm IP and 1.6-mm TPs, and an acrylic connecting bar with a 2.0-mm IP and 1.1-mm TPs. Models were rotated in torsion (5°/s) to failure or the machine angle limit (80°). Mechanical variables at yield and at failure were determined from load deformation curves. Effects of overall construct type, connecting bar type, and IP and TP size combination on mechanical properties were assessed with mixed-model ANOVAs.
Both FESSA constructs had significantly greater median stiffness and median torque at yield than both acrylic bar constructs; FESSA constructs with a 1.6-mm IP and 1.6-mm TPs had greatest stiffness of all tested constructs and lowest gap strain at yield. No FESSA constructs failed during testing; 7 of 12 acrylic bar constructs failed by fracture of the connecting bar at the interface with a TP.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Although acrylic bar ESFs have been successfully used in avian patients, the FESSA constructs in this study were mechanically superior to acrylic bar constructs, with greatest benefit resulting from use with the larger TP configuration.
Objective—To determine morphological and mechanical properties of trabecular bone of horses with a bone fragility syndrome (BFS; including silicate-associated osteoporosis).
Sample—Cylindrical trabecular bone samples from the distal aspects of cadaveric third metacarpal bones of 39 horses (19 horses with a BFS [BFS bone samples] and 20 horses without a BFS [control bone samples]).
Procedures—Bone samples were imaged via micro-CT for determination of bone volume fraction; apparent and mean mineralized bone densities; and trabecular number, thickness, and separation. Bone samples were compressed to failure for determination of apparent elastic modulus and stresses, strains, and strain energy densities for yield, ultimate, and failure loads. Effects of BFS and age of horses on variables were determined.
Results—BFS bone samples had 25% lower bone volume fraction, 28% lower apparent density, 18% lower trabecular number and thickness, and 16% greater trabecular separation versus control bone samples. The BFS bone samples had 22% lower apparent modulus and 32% to 33% lower stresses, 10% to 18% lower strains, and 41 % to 52% lower strain energy densities at yield, ultimate, and failure loads, compared with control bone samples. Differences between groups of bone samples were not detected for mean mineral density and trabecular anisotropy.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that horses with a BFS had osteopenia and compromised trabecular bone function, consistent with bone deformation and pathological fractures that develop in affected horses. Effects of this BFS may be systemic, and bones other than those that are clinically affected had changes in morphological and mechanical properties.
Objective—To determine major causes of death and the anatomic location of musculoskeletal injuries in Quarter Horse racehorses in California.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Animals—314 Quarter Horse racehorses with musculoskeletal injuries that were necropsied through the California Horse Racing Board Postmortem Program from 1990 to 2007.
Procedures—Postmortem pathology reports were retrospectively reviewed. Musculoskeletal injuries were categorized by anatomic region and described. The number of Quarter Horse starts and starters for the same period of time were obtained from a commercial database for determination of fatal injury incidence.
Results—Musculoskeletal injuries accounted for 314 of the 443 (71 %) Quarter Horse racehorses that died during the 18-year study period. Fatal musculoskeletal injuries occurred at a rate of 2.0 deaths/1,000 race starts and 18.6 deaths/1,000 horses that started a race. Musculoskeletal injuries occurred predominantly during racing (84%) and in the forelimbs (81%). The most common fatal musculoskeletal injuries were metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal joint (fetlock) support injuries (40%) and carpal (24%), vertebral (10%), and scapular (8%) fractures. Proximal interphalangeal (pastern) joint luxations resulted in death of 3% of horses. Fracture configurations of some bones were consistent with those of Thoroughbred racehorses. Evidence of preexisting stress remodeling of bone was reported for some fractures.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Knowledge of common locations and types of fatal musculoskeletal injuries in racing Quarter Horses may enhance practitioners' ability to detect mild injuries early, rest horses, and help prevent catastrophic injuries.
Objective—To describe clinical and scintigraphic abnormalities in horses with a bone fragility disorder.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Animals—16 horses with scintigraphic evidence of multiple sites of increased radiopharmaceutical uptake (IRU).
Procedures—Medical records were reviewed for information on signalment; history; clinical, clinicopathologic, and diagnostic imaging findings; and treatment. Follow-up information was obtained through telephone interviews with owners.
Results—Horses ranged from 4 to 22 years old; there were 8 castrated males and 8 females. Foci of IRU most commonly involved the scapulae, ribs, sternebrae, sacral tubers, ilia, and cervical vertebrae. Most horses were examined because of chronic intermittent (n = 10) or acute (6) lameness involving a single (10) or multiple (6) limbs that could not be localized by means of regional anesthesia. Cervical stiffness (n = 3), scapular bowing (3), swayback (3), and ataxia (1) were also seen in more advanced cases. Signs of respiratory tract disease and exercise intolerance were evident in 4 horses. Ultrasonographic or radiographic evidence of bone remodeling or degeneration was seen in 19 of 33 affected bones. Histologic examination of bone biopsy specimens revealed reactive bone. Improvement was initially seen with conservative treatment in some horses, but the condition worsened in all horses, and 11 horses were euthanized within 7 years.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that horses may develop a bone fragility disorder characterized clinically by an unlocalizable lameness and scintigraphically by multiple sites of IRU involving the axial skeleton and proximal portion of the appendicular skeleton.
Objective—To determine the distribution for limbs and bones in horses with fractures of the proximal sesamoid bones and relationships with findings on palmarodorsal radiographic images.
Sample Population—Proximal sesamoid bones obtained from both forelimbs of cadavers of 328 racing Thoroughbreds.
Procedure—Osteophytes; large vascular channels; and fracture location, orientation, configuration, and margin distinctness were categorized by use of high-detail contact palmarodorsal radiographs. Distributions of findings were determined. Relationships between radiographic findings and fracture characteristics were examined by use of χ2 and logistic regression techniques.
Results—Fractures were detected in 136 (41.5%) horses. Biaxial fractures were evident in 109 (80%) horses with a fracture. Osteophytes and large vascular channels were evident in 266 (81%) and 325 (99%) horses, respectively. Medial bones typically had complete transverse or split transverse simple fractures, indistinct fracture margins, > 1 vascular channel that was > 1 mm in width, and osteophytes in abaxial wing and basilar middle or basilar abaxial locations. Lateral bones typically had an oblique fracture and distinct fracture margins. Odds of proximal sesamoid bone fracture were approximately 2 to 5 times higher in bones without radiographic evidence of osteophytes or large vascular channels, respectively.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Biaxial fractures of proximal sesamoid bones were common in cadavers of racing Thoroughbreds. Differences between medial and lateral bones for characteristics associated with fracture may relate to differences in fracture pathogeneses for these bones. Osteophytes and vascular channels were common findings; however, fractures were less likely to occur in bones with these features.