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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Assess femorotibial features in foals with and without medial femoral condyle (MFC) subchondral radiolucencies (SR+ and SR–).

METHODS

3 independent, sequential radiographic studies were performed. Study 1 retrospectively measured femorotibial morphological parameters in repository radiographs (SR– and SR+). Study 2 qualitatively compared drawings of intercondylar notch shape in postmortem radiographs (SR–). Study 3 prospectively measured femorotibial parameters in 1-month-old foals (SR–). In studies 1 and 3, 13 morphologic parameters were measured. Limb directional asymmetry was assessed in 2 age groups (< 7 or ≥ 7 months).

RESULTS

Study 1 (SR– group; n = 183 radiographs) showed increased femoral measurements with maturation, except the distal femoral intercondylar notch width (FINwal), which decreased. In contrast, in SR+ stifles (53 radiographs), 3 femoral parameters (MFC width [MFCwpf], MFC height, or FINwal) showed no changes. Tibial plateau width alone increased with maturation in both groups. Interobserver reliability was good to excellent. Study 2 (n = 53 radiographs) confirmed a distal FINw decrease in SR– foals. In study 1, left SR– stifles in greater than or equal to 7-month-old fillies had significantly larger femoral bicondylar width and FINw, while right SR+ stifles in fillies greater than or equal to 7 months had a significantly larger MFCw. In study 3 of 1-month-old foals (n = 94 SR– radiographs), the MFCw, femoral condyle bicondylar width, and lateral femoral condyle height were all greater on the left, whereas the intercondylar intereminence space width was larger on the right.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

In SR+ stifles, the distal femur exhibited divergent maturation, indicating a wider MFC in the right stifle in older foals. As SR lesions are more common on the right, this suggests a potential association with MFC morphology.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research