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


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).


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.


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