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Abstract

Objective

To investigate the relation between several racing speed history characteristics and risk of fatal skeletal injury (FSI) in racing Thoroughbreds.

Animals

64 Thoroughbreds euthanatized during a 9-month period in 1991 at a California racemeet because of a catastrophic fracture incurred while racing (cases), identified retrospectively. For each race in which an FSI occurred, 1 control horse was randomly selected from the noncatastrophically injured participants.

Procedure

Racing and officially timed workout histories were obtained for each horse. Several history characteristics were calculated to summarize racing career patterns and high-speed exercise schedules prior to date of injury and included age at first race, proportion of career spent laid up, average duration of laid up periods, average lifetime racing frequency, time from last lay up to date of injury, and total and rate of distance accumulated 1 to 6 months prior to date of injury. History characteristics associated with FSI were screened by paired t-test and studied in detail using conditional logistic regression.

Results

High total and high average daily rates of exercise distance accumulation within a 2-month period were associated with higher risks for FSI during racing, yet career patterns, such as age at first race or total proportion of career spent laid up, were not found to be associated with risk for FSI. A horse that had accumulated a total of 35 furlongs of race and timed-work distance in 2 months, compared with a horse with 25 furlongs accumulated, had an estimated 3.9-fold increase in risk for racing-related FSI (95% confidence interval = 2.1, 7.1). A horse that had accumulated race and timed-work furlongs at an average rate of 0.6 furlong/d within a 2-month period, compared with a horse with an average of 0.5 furlong/d, had an estimated 1.8-fold increase in risk for racing-related FSI (95% confidence interval = 1.4, 2.6).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Thoroughbred racehorses that either accumulate large total highspeed distances or rapidly accumulate high-speed distances within a 2-month period may be at increased risk for FSI during racing. (Am J Vet Res 1996;57:1549–1555)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Summary

The forefimb superficial digital flexor (sdf) tendons of 6 Thoroughbreds were examined clinically and ultrasonographically during the first 4 months of race training. Sonograms were interpreted clinically and by use of computer-aided analysis. Tendon tissue from all horses was examined histologically at the end of the study.

Computer-aided analysis of sonograms of the sdf tendons revealed trends toward an increase in mean cross-sectional area and a decrease in mean echogenicity over time with training. An inverse relation was found between increase in cross-sectional area and decrease in mean echogenicity over time in training. Two of the trained horses developed clinical signs of mid sdf tendonitis. Ultrasonography revealed an increase in cross-sectional area and decrease in mean echogenicity of clinically affected areas of the sdf tendons of 1 horse, compared with changes observed prior to the onset of tendonitis (these changes were not statistically significant). Blood vessels and lymphatics supplying the clinically and ultrasonographically affected tendon sites were large and thick-walled. These changes were not observed in the tendons of the other horses at the end of the study.

The authors conclude that equine sdf tendons adapt to the early months of race training by increasing in size and decreasing in echogencity, as determined by ultrasonography.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess the motion of the proximal sesamoid bones (PSBs) relative to the third metacarpal bone (MC3) of equine forelimbs during physiologic midstance loads.

SAMPLE

8 musculoskeletally normal forelimbs (7 right and 1 left) from 8 adult equine cadavers.

PROCEDURES

Each forelimb was harvested at the mid-radius level and mounted in a material testing system so the hoof could be moved in a dorsal direction while the radius and MC3 remained vertical. The PSBs were instrumented with 2 linear variable differential transformers to record movement between the 2 bones. The limb was sequentially loaded at a displacement rate of 5 mm/s from 500 N to each of 4 loads (1.8 [standing], 3.6 [walking], 4.5 [trotting], and 10.5 [galloping] kN), held at the designated load for 30 seconds while lateromedial radiographs were obtained, and then unloaded back to 500 N. The position of the PSBs relative to the transverse ridge of the MC3 condyle and angle of the metacarpophalangeal (fetlock) joint were measured on each radiograph.

RESULTS

The distal edge of the PSBs moved distal to the transverse ridge of the MC3 condyle at 10.5 kN (gallop) but not at lower loads. The palmar surfaces of the PSBs rotated away from each other during fetlock joint extension, and the amount of rotation increased with load.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

At loads consistent with a high-speed gallop, PSB translations may create an articular incongruity and abnormal bone stress distribution that contribute to focal subchondral bone lesions and PSB fracture in racehorses.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To investigate the biomechanics of cervical vertebral motion units (VMUs) before and after a ventral slot procedure and after subsequent pin-polymethylmethacrylate (pin-PMMA) fixation and to assess the use of smooth and positive-profile threaded (PPT) pins in pin-PMMA fixation and intravertebral pin placement.

Sample Population—Cervical portions (C3 through C6 vertebrae) of 14 cadaveric canine vertebral columns.

Procedure—Flexion and extension bending moments were applied to specimens before and after creation of a ventral slot across the C4-C5 intervertebral space and after subsequent smooth or PPT pin-PMMA fixation at that site. Data for the C3-C4, C4-C5, and C5-C6 VMUs were compared among treatments and between pin types, and pin protrusion was compared between pin types.

Results—Compared with values in intact specimens, ventral slot treatment increased neutral zone range of motion (NZ-ROM) by 98% at the treated VMUs and appeared to decrease overall ROM at adjacent VMUs; pin-PMMA fixation decreased NZ-ROM by 92% at the treated VMUs and increased overall NZ-ROM by 19% to 24% at adjacent VMUs. Specimens fixed with PPT pins were 82% (flexion) and 80% (extension) stiffer than smooth–pin-fixed specimens. Overall, 41% of pins protruded into foramina; PPT pins were more likely to protrude into transverse foramina.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that fixation of a cervical VMU alters the biomechanics of adjacent VMUs and may contribute to degeneration of adjacent intervertebral disks. Use of threaded pins may lower the incidence of pin loosening and implant failure but enhances the likelihood of transverse foramina penetration. ( Am J Vet Res 2005;66:678–687)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To compare in vitro mechanical properties of toggle pins and toggle rods used as suture anchors and of 3 suture materials (50-lb monofilament polybutester, No. 5 braided polyester, and 5-mm woven polyester) commonly used as prosthetic ligaments in the repair of hip joint luxation in dogs.

Sample Population—Femoropelvic specimens from the cadavers of 18 dogs.

Procedure—Suture anchors were compared by use of pullout tests. Suture materials were compared by use of monotonic and cyclic tensile tests; cyclic tensile tests were performed with the suture placed over the edge of an aluminum bar to simulate the edge of the femoral bone tunnel. In vitro mechanical properties of the ligament of the femoral head were determined by use of monotonic tensile tests, using boneligament-bone cadaveric specimens. The in vitro mechanical properties of the acetabulum-ligamentfemur complex and of this complex following rupture of the ligament and stabilization with a toggle rod and 5-mm woven polyester were determined by use of compression tests that simulated weight-bearing.

Results—Mechanical properties of the toggle rod were not significantly different from those of the toggle pin. Woven polyester had the longest fatigue life in cyclic testing. Hip joints stabilized with a toggle rod and woven polyester had less than half the strength in vitro of intact joints.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that a toggle rod or toggle pin can be used for stabilization of hip joint luxations in dogs. Of the materials tested, braided polyester had the best in vitro mechanical properties. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62: 721–728)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To develop a model for measuring rotary stability of the canine elbow joint and to evaluate the relative contribution of the anconeal process (AN), lateral collateral ligament (LCL), and medial collateral ligament (MCL).

Sample Population—18 forelimbs from 12 canine cadavers.

Procedure—Forelimbs were allocated to 3 experimental groups (6 forelimbs/group). Each intact forelimb was placed in extension at an angle of 135° and cycled 50 times from –16° (pronation) to +28° (supination) in a continuous manner at 2.0 Hz. Cycling was repeated following sectioning of the structure of interest (group 1, AN; group 2, LCL; and group 3, MCL). Torque at –12° (pronation) and +18° (supination) was measured for each intact and experimentally sectioned limb. A Student t test was performed to compare torque values obtained from intact verses experimentally sectioned limbs and for comparison with established criteria for differentiation of primary (≥ 33%), secondary (10 to 33%), and tertiary rotational stabilizers (< 10%).

Results—In pronation, the AN was the only primary stabilizer (65%). For supination, the LCL was a primary stabilizer (48%), AN was a secondary stabilizer (24%), and MCL was a tertiary stabilizer (7%).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—With the elbow joint in extension at an angle of 135°, the AN is a primary rotational stabilizer in pronation, and the LCL is a primary stabilizer in supination. Disruption of the AN or LCL may affect rotary range of motion or compromise stability of the elbow joint in dogs. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:1520–1526)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To assess concurrently the effects of moderate ligamentous suspensory apparatus injury (MLSAI), racing-speed exercise, and horseshoe characteristics on risk of catastrophic suspensory apparatus failure (SAF) or metacarpal condylar fracture (CDY) in forelimbs of racehorses.

Sample population—Cadavers of 301 Thoroughbred racehorses (108 with SAF, 33 with CDY, and 160 control horses).

Procedure—A cross-sectional epidemiologic study was used to describe distributions and relationships between MLSAI, exercise, and horseshoe variables. Logistic regression was used to assess potential risk factors for developing SAF and CDY.

Results—Exercise variables were more highly associated with age than height of a steel bar affixed to the ground surface of the front of a horseshoe (ie, toe grab) or sex. Marginal associations were detected between MLSAI and age and height of toe grab. Higher risk for developing SAF was associated with MLSAI, use of a pad on a horseshoe, longer interval since last period of ≥ 60 days without a race or timed workout (ie, layup), 2 to 5 career races, and higher intensity of recent exercise. Higher risk for developing CDY was associated with MLSAI, male horses, age between 2 and 5 years, higher intensity of recent exercise, and longer interval since layup.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Recognition of MLSAI and rehabilitation of affected horses should reduce incidence of SAF and CDY. Horses in long-term continuous training with recent high-intensity exercise are at greater risk for injury. Use of pads in horseshoes was associated with SAF, although the relationship may not be causal. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1508–1517).

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To assess the accuracy and reliability of a visual method of evaluating horseshoe characteristics.

Animals—1,199 Thoroughbred racehorses.

Procedure—Characteristics of 1 forelimb horseshoe were visually assessed on horses immediately prior to racing by 5 field observers at 5 major racetracks in California. Characteristics evaluated included horseshoe type; toe grab height; and the presence of a rim, pad, and heel traction devices. Sensitivity and specificity for observer assessment of horseshoe characteristics were calculated by comparing observer assessments to a postmortem laboratory standard for horses that died within 48 hours of a race. Intraobserver agreement was assessed in a subset of horses by comparing horseshoe observations made before and after the horse's race. Interobserver agreement was evaluated by comparing horseshoe assessment among observers who examined the same subset of horses prior to racing on select days.

Results—The sensitivity and specificity of this visual method of evaluating horseshoe characteristics were good and ranged from 0.75 to 1 and 0.67 to 1, respectively. Agreement beyond chance (weighted kappa values) between observers and the laboratory standard for toe grab height was fair (0.60 to 0.62). Intraobserver and interobserver agreements (kappa values) were high (0.86 to 0.99 and 0.71 to 1, respectively).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Visual observation of horseshoes can be a feasible and reproducible method for assessing horseshoe characteristics prospectively in a large cohort of horses under racing conditions. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1674–1679)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To describe forelimb horseshoe characteristics of horses racing on dirt surfaces and determine whether these characteristics vary with region of California, season, horse characteristics, and race-related factors.

Animals—5,730 Thoroughbred racehorses.

Procedure—From June 17, 2000, to June 16, 2001, the characteristics of 1 forelimb horseshoe of horses that raced on dirt surfaces at 5 major racetracks in California were recorded. These characteristics included shoe type; toe grab height; and presence of a rim, pad, and heel traction devices (jar caulks, heel stickers, heel blocks, and special nails). Horse and race information was obtained from commercial records. One race/horse was randomly selected.

Results—99% of forelimb horseshoes were aluminum racing plates, 35% had a pad, 23% had a rim, and 8% had a heel traction device. A toe grab was observed on 75% of forelimb horseshoes (14% very low [≤ 2 mm], 30% low [> 2 and ≤ 4 mm], 30% regular [> 4 and ≤ 6 mm], and 1% high [> 6 and ≤ 8 mm]). Forelimb horseshoe characteristics varied with region of California, season, age and sex of the horse, race purse and distance, and track surface condition. Loglinear modeling revealed that all of these factors were significantly interrelated.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Complex interrelationships among forelimb horseshoe characteristics and region, season, age and sex of the horse, and race-related factors need to be considered when evaluating the relationships between injury and horseshoe characteristics in Thoroughbred racehorses. ( Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1021–1030)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine the distribution of force between the articular surfaces of the humerus and radius and between the humerus and ulna in normal canine forelimbs.

Sample population—12 cadaveric canine right forelimbs.

Procedure—Transarticular force maps were created by placing a tactile array pressure sensor into the elbow joint cavity and loading cadaveric forelimbs in a materials testing system. Mean joint forces were determined at loads of 50, 100, 150, and 200 N.

Results—All tests produced 2 distinct areas of high load that corresponded with the proximal articular surfaces of the radius and ulna. Mean forces for the radial proximal articular surface were slightly but significantly greater than for the ulna, averaging 51% to 52% of total force for all applied loads.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The proximal articular surface of the ulna contributes substantially to load transfer through the canine elbow joint. Abnormalities, which increase this load, might contribute to canine elbow joint dysplasia, specifically fragmentation of the medial coronoid process and osteochondritis dissecans of the medial aspect of the humeral condyle. In the treatment of these conditions, the normal force distribution within the canine elbow joint should be taken into consideration. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:132–135)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research