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SUMMARY

Fifty Thoroughbred horses were examined. All horses had been in race training for a minimum of 4 months before examination and had worked at racing speed; 24 horses had raced. All horses were clinically sound at the time of examination. Ultrasonography was performed, using a 7.5-MHz transducer with built-in fluid offset. Videotaped images of the palmar soft tissue structures were obtained at 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 cm distal to the base of the accessory carpal bone (dacb). Images were digitized, and each image was calibrated. Values for cross-sectional area (csa) and mean echogenicity (me) were then determined from the cross-sectional images of the superficial digital flexor (sdf) and the deep digital flexor (ddf) tendons, using an image-analysis program.

The sdf tendons were compared between right and left forelimbs at each level, and from proximad to distad on each limb, as were the ddf tendons. The relation between the sdf and ddf tendons for the same forelimb was determined at each level. There were no significant differences in csa or me at equivalent levels of the left and right sdf tendons. Mean (± sd) csa was 1.01 (± 0.12) cm2 at 4 cm dacb, 0.95 (± 0.14) cm2 at 12 cm dacb, and 1.12 (± 0.15) cm2 at 24 cm dacb. Adjusted me was 2.34 (± 0.34) at 4 cm dacb, 2.03 (± 0.38) at 12 cm dacb, and 2.04 (± 0.35) at 24 cm dacb.

The left and right ddf tendons did not have significant differences in csa or me at any level. Cross-sectional area was 1.13 (± 0.18) cm2 at 4 cm dacb, 1.01 (± 0.12) cm2 at 12 cm dacb, and 1.75 (± 0.29) cm2 at 24 cm dacb. Adjusted me was 2.60 (± 0.46) at 4 cm dacb, 2.49 (± 0.49) at 12 cm dacb, and 2.50 (± 0.44) at 24 cm dacb.

At all levels, the left and right sdf tendons were smaller and less echoic than the ddf tendons of the same limb. The sdf and ddf tendons had an hourglass shape, with smallest csa at 12 cm dacb. Mean echogenicity generally decreased for the sdf and ddf tendons from proximad to distad on the limb.

These results indicate that for clinically normal trained Thoroughbred racehorses, there should be no significant difference in csa or echogenicity between the left and right sdf tendons at equivalent distances dacb. There should be no significant differences in the left and right ddf tendons at equivalent levels dacb. The sdf tendon is usually smaller and less echoic than the corresponding ddf tendon at each level.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Summary

Twenty-two horses were examined because of firearm injuries. Nine had been shot with .22- caliber bullets, 2 with BB pellets, 6 with buckshot, 1 with a, 35-caliber bullet, and 1 with an airgun pellet. Injury was confined to the skin or skeletal muscles in 8 horses. Of these, 7 returned to their previous use. In 14 horses, injuries to additional structures were incurred, including the sinus and pharynx (n = 2), mandible (n = 1), tooth (n = 1), aorta (n = 1), eye (n = 3), tibia (n = 1), gastrointestinal tract (n = 3), joint (n = 1), and trachea (n = 1). The 3 horses that had only eye injuries were discharged to their owners. Of the other 11 horses with injuries to deep/vital structures, 3 died, 5 were euthanatized, and 3 survived.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective

To assess tendon morphology and non-reducible crosslink concentration, and associations of these findings with horse age and previously reported mechanical and ultrasonographic findings.

Sample Population

Superficial digital flexor tendon samples were obtained from 23 horses aged 2 to 23 years. The tendons had undergone ultrasonography and were submitted to biomechanical testing in the physiologic range prior to sample acquisition.

Procedure

Samples were sectioned in a transverse plane; then dorsal, palmar, central, lateral, and medial regions were evaluated for fascicle cross-sectional area (CSA), septal width, and vessel density (the product of vessel numbers and vessel CSA per field). Contiguous samples were analyzed for collagen crosslinking.

Results

Central fascicles were significantly larger than fascicles in other tendon regions. Fascicle CSA decreased significantly with increasing age. Because total tendon CSA is unrelated to increasing age, fascicle numbers appeared to increase with increasing age. Regional or age effects on septal width were not found. There was no age or regional effect on vessel numbers, density, or fractional area.

Fascicle CSA was positively correlated with total tendon CSA; fascicle CSA was negatively correlated with elastic modulus. Hydroxypiridinium concentration tended to increase with increasing horse age; this effect was associated with a positive correlation between hydroxypiridinium values and elastic modulus.

Conclusions

Equine superficial digital flexor tendon undergoes an increase in structural organization and an increase in nonreducible crosslinks with maturation and aging. These changes are associated with an increase in elastic modulus. (Am J Vet Res 1997; 58:425–430)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

SUMMARY

Ultrasonographic cross-sectional area (csa) measurements of equine superficial digital flexor (sdf) tendon were obtained to determine the feasibility of ultrasonography for csa measurement of tendon in vivo and in vitro. Ultrasonographic measurements were compared with a more traditional csa measurement method, ink-blot analysis. In addition, values for ultrasonographic sdf tendon mean echogenicity were obtained in vivo and in vitro. The left forelimb sdf tendons of 23 horses were evaluated ultrasonographically. Cross-sectional images were acquired at 4-cm intervals distal to the base of the accessory carpal bone (dacb) to the level of the proximal sesamoid bones while horses were standing squarely. After euthanasia, the left forelimbs were mounted in a materials testing system (mts) and loaded under tension to standing load. Ultrasonographic images were again acquired at the same locations. The ultrasonographic images were digitized, and values for ultrasonographic csa and mean echogenicity were obtained for each level.

Immediately after mechanical testing, a 1-cm-thick transverse section of sdf tendon at 12 cm dacb was removed. Three ink blots were prepared from each end of the removed tendon section and digitized. The 6 csa values were averaged to generate a value for morphologic csa for each sdf tendon at 12 cm dacb.

Standing ultrasonographic tendon csa at 12 cm dacb was consistently smallest (mean ± sd csa = 86 ± 11 mm2), followed by mts ultrasonographic csa (mean, 95 ± 12 mm2), ink-blot morphologic csa being largest (mean, 99 ± 15 mm2). Comparison of standing and mts ultrasonographic csa values at 12 cm dacb revealed a strong positive linear correlation between methods (R 2 = 0.74, P = 0.001). Comparison of ink-blot csa at 12 cm dacb with standing and mts ultrasonographic csa revealed strong positive linear correlations (R 2 = 0.64, P = 0.001 and R 2 = 0.72, P = 0.001, respectively).

For ultrasonographic mean echogenicity, standing values insignificantly exceeded mts values at each level. The authors conclude that ultrasonography is a useful technique for the noninvasive assessment of sdf tendon csa that can be applied in vivo and in vitro.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

SUMMARY

Results of studies in human beings and other species have indicated that aging significantly influences the strength, modulus of elasticity, and energy storage ability of tendon. We wanted to determine the effects of aging on the material and ultrasonographic properties of equine superficial digital flexor (sdf) tendon. Ultrasonographic measurements of left forelimb sdf tendon cross-sectional area and mean echogenicity were made in 23 standing horses ranging in age from 2 to 23 years. All horses had not been in work for a minimum of 6 months prior to the study. After euthanasia, left forelimb bone-muscle-tendon-bone specimens were mounted in a materials testing system. The sdf tendon was cyclically loaded sinusoidally 100 times at 0.5 Hz from 1.5 to 5.0% strain, then was submitted to 10-minute creep-and-stress relaxation tests. Modulus of elasticity, load at 3% strain, and creep-and-stress relaxation were determined for each specimen. A significant positive correlation was found between elastic modulus and age. Correlation was not found between age and sdf tendon cross-sectional area or mean echogenicity. When 2-year-old horses were compared with older horses, the latter had tendons with a significantly (P = 0.007) greater modulus of elasticity. The authors conclude that increasing age through maturity is associated with a corresponding increase in equine sdf tendon elastic modulus.

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

Summary

Experimental and field trials were conducted to evaluate an elisa for its ability to detect Trichinella-infected domestic swine and to compare elisa results with muscle-digestion test results. The elisa used was a commercial double-antibody kit, containing an excretory-secretory antigen, and was evaluated principally for epidemiologic use. Experimentally induced infection in swine (4 groups of 3 pigs each; inoculated with 0, 50, 500 or 5,000 larvae) was detected as early as postinoculation week 4, with seroconversion of all inoculated swine by postinoculation week 8. The rate of seroconversion appeared to be affected by initial larval dose, time after inoculation, and immunocompetence of the individual host. Determination of antibody kinetics generally revealed rapidly increasing antibody titer, followed by its steady decrease in most pigs. Once seropositive, however, all pigs remained seropositive for the duration of the 10-week study. Presence of muscle larvae was confirmed in all infected pigs at termination of the study. We recognize that the experimental conditions may not be truly representative of those under which natural infection develops in pigs; however, the elisa detected an infected pig with muscle larval density of 0.87 larvae/g of tissue. Results of a field trial (n = 310) indicated no muscle digestion test-positive pigs (35 g of diaphragm muscle digested/pig), but 3 samples tested positive by elisa for specificity of 99.0%.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research