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OBJECTIVE To determine the effects of racetrack surface and shoe characteristics on formation of wear grooves in the horseshoes of racehorses.

SAMPLES 1,121 horseshoes from 242 Thoroughbred racehorses collected during routine horseshoeing procedures at 4 racetracks with dirt or synthetic surfaces.

PROCEDURES Data for 1,014 horseshoes from 233 racehorses were analyzed. Horseshoes were photographed, and length and width of grooves formed at the heels of the solar surface of horseshoes were measured on the photographs. Effects of racetrack, racetrack surface, and shoe characteristics (eg, shoe size, clips, and nails) on length and width of grooves were assessed by use of a mixed-model anova.

RESULTS Length and width of wear grooves differed significantly on the basis of racetrack, nail placement, and limb side (left vs right). Differences in groove dimensions between types of racetrack surface (dirt vs synthetic) were less apparent than differences among racetracks.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Measurements of the length and width of wear grooves in the horseshoes of racehorses may be useful for understanding some aspects of hoof interactions with various racetrack surfaces. Interpretation of differences in wear grooves for various racetrack surfaces will likely require quantitation of the mechanical behavior of the surfaces.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine the distribution for limbs and bones in horses with fractures of the proximal sesamoid bones and relationships with findings on palmarodorsal radiographic images.

Sample Population—Proximal sesamoid bones obtained from both forelimbs of cadavers of 328 racing Thoroughbreds.

Procedure—Osteophytes; large vascular channels; and fracture location, orientation, configuration, and margin distinctness were categorized by use of high-detail contact palmarodorsal radiographs. Distributions of findings were determined. Relationships between radiographic findings and fracture characteristics were examined by use of χ2 and logistic regression techniques.

Results—Fractures were detected in 136 (41.5%) horses. Biaxial fractures were evident in 109 (80%) horses with a fracture. Osteophytes and large vascular channels were evident in 266 (81%) and 325 (99%) horses, respectively. Medial bones typically had complete transverse or split transverse simple fractures, indistinct fracture margins, > 1 vascular channel that was > 1 mm in width, and osteophytes in abaxial wing and basilar middle or basilar abaxial locations. Lateral bones typically had an oblique fracture and distinct fracture margins. Odds of proximal sesamoid bone fracture were approximately 2 to 5 times higher in bones without radiographic evidence of osteophytes or large vascular channels, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Biaxial fractures of proximal sesamoid bones were common in cadavers of racing Thoroughbreds. Differences between medial and lateral bones for characteristics associated with fracture may relate to differences in fracture pathogeneses for these bones. Osteophytes and vascular channels were common findings; however, fractures were less likely to occur in bones with these features.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research