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OBJECTIVE To compare bony changes of the third metacarpal bone (MC3) of Thoroughbred racehorse cadavers with (cases) or without (controls) catastrophic condylar fracture by use of standing MRI.

SAMPLE 140 forelimbs from 26 case horses (both forelimbs) and 88 control horses (single forelimb).

PROCEDURES Bone marrow lesions (BMLs), identified as a decrease in T1-weighted (T1W) signal and increases in T2*-weighted (T2*W) and short tau inversion recovery (STIR) signals, and dense bone volume percentage (DBVP), identified as decreases in T1W, T2*W, and STIR signals, in the distopalmar aspect of MC3 were recorded. Logistic regression was used to compare fractured and nonfractured limbs of cases and fractured limbs of cases with randomly selected limbs of controls.

RESULTS Among cases, fractured limbs were significantly more likely to have BMLs (26/26 [100%]) than were nonfractured limbs (7/26 [27%]). Fractured limbs of cases were significantly more likely to have BMLs (26/26 [100%]) than were limbs of controls (6/88 [7%]). Among cases, there was no significant difference in DBVP between fractured and nonfractured limbs in lateral (26% vs 21%, respectively) or medial (25% vs 20%, respectively) condyles. However, DBVP was significantly greater in fractured limbs of cases than in limbs of controls for lateral (26% vs 16%, respectively) and medial (25% vs 18%, respectively) condyles.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Standing MRI revealed a significantly greater degree of bone change in racehorses with condylar fracture when comparing fractured and nonfractured limbs of case horses and fractured limbs of case horses with randomly selected limbs of control horses.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research