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  • Author or Editor: Heidi L. Reesink x
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Objective—To investigate the efficacy and safety of a low-volume, single-catheter, continuous peripheral neural blockade (CPNB) technique to locally deliver bupivacaine to alleviate signs of severe forelimb pain resulting from experimentally induced tendonitis in horses.

Design—Randomized controlled experimental trial.

Sample—14 horses and 5 forelimbs from equine cadavers.

Procedures—Horses underwent collagenase-induced superficial digital flexor tendonitis in the midmetacarpal region of 1 forelimb. To deliver analgesia, a closed-tip catheter was placed from lateral to medial, approximately 12 cm distal to the accessory carpal bone, between the suspensory ligament and accessory ligament of the deep digital flexor tendon. Success of catheter placement and anesthetic delivery was documented ex vivo in 5 forelimbs from equine cadavers. Effective analgesia in affected forelimbs of horses from continuous (n = 7) versus intermittent (7) local anesthetic delivery (intermittent peripheral neural blockade; IPNB) was compared over a 3-day period.

Results—Horses that received CPNB in the affected forelimb were less lame than horses that received IPNB. A lower proportion of CPNB-treated horses had behavioral and physiologic signs of pain, compared with IPNB-treated horses. Neither technique completely blocked the sensation of pain or resulted in swelling in the distal portion of the forelimb, vasodilation, or an increase in lameness. After removal, Staphylococcus aureus was cultured from 1 catheter tip.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—For short-term treatment, CPNB was more effective than IPNB for reduction in signs of severe pain in the distal aspect of the forelimb of horses.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To compare effects of 3 methods of topically applied cold treatment (cryotherapy) on digital laminar and venous temperatures in horses.

Animals—9 healthy adult Thoroughbreds.

Procedures—Thermocouples were placed in palmar digital veins and digital laminae of both forelimbs of horses. Three methods of cryotherapy were applied to the distal aspects of the limbs: wader boot (63-cm-tall vinyl boot filled with ice and water [ice slurry]), ice bag (5-L fluid bag filled with ice slurry), and a gel pack boot (boot containing frozen gel packs). Gel packs and ice slurries were replenished every hour during cryotherapy. The forelimb that received the first treatment was randomly assigned; thereafter, control and treated forelimbs were alternated for each treatment. For each treatment, temperatures were recorded every minute during 15-minute pretreatment, 2-hour treatment, and ≥ 30 minute rewarming periods. Once temperatures had returned to within 3°C below pretreatment values, the experiment was repeated in a similar manner for other cryotherapy methods.

Results—Digital venous temperatures were similar to laminar temperatures during each treatment. Ice bag and wader boot treatments caused similar cooling of digits. Gel boot treatment did not cause substantial cooling of digits.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Ice bag treatment caused laminar and digital venous cooling equivalent to that of wader boot treatment. Cryotherapy by use of 5-L fluid bags with an ice slurry may be a readily available, practical, and efficient method for prevention of laminitis in horses. Digital laminar and venous temperatures were similar in forelimbs of horses before and during cryotherapy.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To examine whether proximal sesamoid bone (PSB) articular cartilage and bone osteoarthritic changes or palmar osteochondral disease (POD) scores were associated with exercise history and catastrophic PSB fracture in Thoroughbred racehorses.


PSBs from 16 Thoroughbred racehorses (8 with and 8 without PSB fracture).


Exercise history was collected, and total career high-speed furlongs was used as the measure of total exercise per horse. At necropsy, medial and lateral condyles of the third metacarpus from each forelimb were assigned a POD score, followed by imaging with micro-CT for evaluation of osteophyte size. Three investigators that were blinded to the type of PSB (fracture or no fracture) used the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) scoring system to evaluate acellularity, chondrocyte necrosis, cartilage fibrillation, chondrone formation, safranin O stain uptake, and tidemark advancement of 1 central sagittal tissue section/PSB (4 PSBs/horse). Cartilage thickness and bone necrosis were scored on the basis of histologic examination.


POD score, osteophyte size score, percentage of bone necrosis, tidemark advancement, chondrone formation, and total OARSI score were greater in horses with more accrued total career high-speed furlongs. Scores for POD, osteophyte size, fibrillation, acellularity, chondrone formation, and total OARSI were greater for horses with PSB fracture.


OARSI scoring revealed that more advanced osteoarthritic changes strongly correlated with total career high-speed furlongs and PSB fracture. However, the effect of exercise was dominant, suggesting that exercise history will be important to include in future models that aim to assess risk factors for catastrophic PSB fracture.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research