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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 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 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 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 determine the effect of sliding and wedge osteotomies of the humerus on the joint surface contact areas in anatomically normal elbow joints of dogs.

Sample Population—Left thoracic limbs from 5 skeletally mature mixed-breed canine cadavers.

Procedure—Joint casting was performed by placement of colored polymethylmethacrylate in the elbow joint cavity followed by loading in a materials testing system at physiologic angle and load. Joint casting was performed in unaltered specimens, after 10° medial opening wedge osteotomy, and after lateral sliding osteotomy of the proximal portion of the humerus. Computer-aided analysis of photographs of proximal radial and ulnar articular surfaces after each casting procedure was performed.

Results—The lateral sliding humeral osteotomy and 10° medial opening wedge osteotomy significantly altered joint surface contact regions of the canine elbow joint. Osteotomies resulted in a reduction in the size of the radial, ulnar, and combined radioulnar contact areas. Both osteotomies also resulted in craniolateral migration of the radial contact area and craniomedial recession of the ulnar contact area. Although the reduction in ulnar contact area with these treatments is consistent with our hypotheses, the reduction in radial contact area was not anticipated.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Humeral osteotomies alter joint surface contact areas of the canine elbow joint in vitro. Humeral osteotomies may decrease contact areas on the diseased region of the joint in dogs with elbow dysplasia; however, the overall decrease in joint surface contact area suggests that these procedures may induce focal increases in pressure that may cause iatrogenic cartilage damage when applied in vivo. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:506–511)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To calculate normative joint angle, intersegmental forces, moment of force, and mechanical power at elbow, antebrachiocarpal, and metacarpophalangeal joints of dogs at a walk.

Animals—6 clinically normal mixed-breed dogs.

Procedure—Kinetic data were collected via a force platform, and kinematic data were collected from forelimbs by use of 3-dimensional videography. Length, location of the center of mass, total mass, and mass moment of inertia about the center of mass were determined for each of 4 segments of the forelimb. Kinematic data and inertial properties were combined with vertical and craniocaudal ground reaction forces to calculate sagittal plane forces and moments across joints of interest throughout stance phase. Mechanical power was calculated as the product of net joint moment and the angular velocity. Joint angles were calculated directly from kinematic data.

Results—All joint intersegmental forces were similar to ground reaction forces, with a decrease in magnitude the more proximal the location of each joint. Flexor moments were observed at metacarpophalangeal and antebrachiocarpal joints, and extensor moments were observed at elbow and shoulder joints, which provided a net extensor support moment for the forelimb. Typical profiles of work existed for each joint.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—For clinically normal dogs of a similar size at a walk, inverse dynamic calculation of intersegmental forces, moments of force, and mechanical power for forelimb joints yielded values of consistent patterns and magnitudes. These values may be used for comparison in evaluations of gait in other studies and in treatment of dogs with forelimb musculoskeletal disease. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:609–617)

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 macrostructural and microstructural features of proximal sesamoid bones (PSBs) from horses with and without PSB midbody fracture to gain insight into the pathogenesis of PSB fracture.

Sample Population—PSBs from 16 Thoroughbred racehorses (8 with and 8 without a PSB midbody fracture).

Procedures—Parasagittal sections of fractured and contralateral intact PSBs from horses with a PSB fracture and an intact PSB from age- and sex-matched control horses without a PSB fracture were evaluated for visual, radiographic, microradiographic, histologic, and his-tomorphometric differences in bone porosity, vascular channels, heme pigment, trabecular anisotropy, and pathological findings.

Results—Fractured PSBs and their contralateral intact PSBs had more compacted trabecular bone than did control PSBs. Focal repair or remodeling was evident in the palmar aspect of many fractured and contralateral intact PSBs. Fracture coincided with microstructural features and propagated from the flexor to the articular surface.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Fractured PSBs had adapted to high loading but had focal evidence of excessive remodeling and porosity that likely predisposed the horses to complete fracture and catastrophic injury. Detection of focal injury before complete fracture provides an opportunity for prevention of catastrophic injury. Development of diagnostic imaging methods to assess porosity of PSBs may help to identify at-risk horses and allow for modifications of training and racing schedules to reduce the incidence of PSB fracture in Thoroughbred racehorses.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research