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Objective—To evaluate the efficacy and safety of intra-articular administration of ethyl alcohol for arthrodesis of tarsometatarsal joints in horses.

Animals—8 healthy female horses without lameness or radiographic evidence of tarsal joint osteoarthritis.

Procedure—In each horse, 1 tarsometatarsal joint was treated with 4 mL of 70% ethyl alcohol and the opposite joint was treated with 4 mL of 95% ethyl alcohol. Lameness examinations were performed daily for 2 weeks, followed by monthly evaluations for the duration of the 12-month study. Radiographic evaluations of both tarsi were performed 1 month after injection and every 3 months thereafter. Gross and histologic examinations of the tarsi were undertaken at completion of the study.

Results—Horses had minimal to no lameness associated with the treatments. Radiography revealed that 8 of 16 joints were fused by 4 months after treatment, with significantly more joints fused in the 70% ethyl alcohol group. Fifteen of 16 joints were considered fused at postmortem examination at 12 months. Gross and histologic examinations revealed foci of dense mature osteonal bone spanning the joint spaces. Bony fusion appeared to be concentrated on the dorsolateral, centrolateral, and plantarolateral aspects of the joints. Significant differences were not detected between treatment groups for lameness or pathologic findings.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Administration of ethyl alcohol into the tarsometatarsal joint of healthy horses appeared to facilitate arthrodesis of the joint in a pain-free manner. Results warrant further investigation into the potential use of ethyl alcohol in horses clinically affected with osteoarthritis of the tarsometatarsal and distal intertarsal joints.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To determine the holding capacity of a 5.5-mm-diameter cortical bone screw when placed in the third phalanx (P3) of horses and assess whether screw placement through the dorsal hoof wall into P3 would be tolerated by clinically normal horses and would alleviate signs of pain and prevent P3 rotation in horses with oligofructose-induced laminitis.


40 limbs from 10 equine cadavers and 19 clinically normal adult horses.


In part 1 of a 3-part study, a 5.5-mm-diameter cortical bone screw was inserted by use of a lag-screw technique through the dorsal hoof wall midline into P3 of 40 cadaveric limbs and tested to failure to determine screw pullout force. In part 2, 6 horses had 5.5-mm-diameter cortical bone screws placed in both forefeet as described for part 1. Screws were removed 4 days after placement. Horses were monitored for lameness before and for 2 weeks after screw removal. In part 3, 13 horses were randomly assigned to serve as controls (n = 3) or undergo screw placement without (group 2; 6) or with (group 3; 4) a washer. Following the acquisition of baseline data, horses were sedated and administered oligofructose (10 g/kg) via a stomach tube. Twenty-four hours later, screws were placed as previously described in both forefeet of horses in groups 2 and 3. Horses were assessed every 4 hours, and radiographic images of the feet were obtained at 96 and 120 hours after oligofructose administration. Horses were euthanized, and the feet were harvested for histologic examination.


The mean ± SD screw pullout force was 3,908.7 ± 1,473.4 N, and it was positively affected by the depth of screw insertion into P3. Horses of part 2 tolerated screw placement and removal well and did not become lame. All horses of part 3 developed signs of acute lameness, and the distance between P3 and the dorsal hoof wall increased slightly over time. The change in the ratio of the dorsal hoof wall width at the extensor process of P3 to that at the tip of P3 over time was the only variable significantly associated with treatment.


Placement of a 5.5-mm-diameter cortical bone screw through the dorsal hoof wall into P3 had sufficient holding power to counteract the pull of the deep digital flexor tendon in approximately 500-kg horses, and placement of such a screw was well tolerated by clinically normal horses but did not alleviate signs of pain in horses with oligofructose-induced laminitis. Further research is necessary before this technique can be recommended for horses with naturally occurring acute laminitis.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


OBJECTIVE To evaluate head, pelvic, and limb movement to detect lameness in galloping horses.

ANIMALS 12 Thoroughbreds.

PROCEDURES Movement data were collected with inertial sensors mounted on the head, pelvis, and limbs of horses trotting and galloping in a straight line before and after induction of forelimb and hind limb lameness by use of sole pressure. Successful induction of lameness was determined by measurement of asymmetric vertical head and pelvic movement during trotting. Differences in gallop strides before and after induction of lameness were evaluated with paired-sample statistical analysis and neural network training and testing. Variables included maximum, minimum, range, and time indices of vertical head and pelvic acceleration, head rotation in the sagittal plane, pelvic rotation in the frontal plane, limb contact intervals, stride durations, and limb lead preference. Difference between median standardized gallop strides for each limb lead before and after induction of lameness was calculated as the sum of squared differences at each time index and assessed with a 2-way ANOVA.

RESULTS Head and pelvic acceleration and rotation, limb timing, stride duration measurements, and limb lead preference during galloping were not significantly different before and after induction of lameness in the forelimb or hind limb. Differences between limb leads before induction of lameness were similar to or greater than differences within limb leads before and after lameness induction.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Galloping horses maintained asymmetry of head, pelvic, and limb motion between limb leads that was unrelated to lameness.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research