OBJECTIVE To report history, findings from clinical examinations and diagnostic imaging, treatment, and outcomes associated with distal interphalangeal primary degenerative joint disease (DIP-PDJD) and to evaluate diagnostic usefulness and limitations of standing low-field MRI, relative to radiography and ultrasonography, for the diagnosis of DIP-PDJD in horses.
DESIGN Retrospective case series with nested evaluation study.
ANIMALS 12 client-owned horses.
PROCEDURES Medical records were reviewed, and data were collected regarding signalment, history, results of physical and diagnostic imaging examinations, treatments, and outcomes of horses that underwent radiography, ultrasonography, and standing MRI for DIP-PDJD. Findings from radiography, ultrasonography, and MRI were recorded, and abnormal findings were graded. The diagnostic usefulness of MRI, relative to radiography and ultrasonography, in the diagnosis of DIP-PDJD in horses was evaluated.
RESULTS A diagnosis of DIP-PDJD was established in 12 of 176 (6.8%) horses that underwent MRI examination of a foot for locomotor disorders. Radiography and ultrasonography enabled confirmation of DIP-PDJD in 3 of the 12 horses, and standing MRI enabled confirmation of DIP-PDJD in the remaining 9. Mean grade for thinning joint space and cartilage were significantly greater when determined with MRI, compared with radiography. Mean grade for osteophytes and periarticular bone remodeling were significantly greater when determined with radiography and ultrasonography, compared with MRI.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that DIP-PDJD can be challenging to detect with routine imaging, especially when synovial effusion and periarticular new bone formation are absent. Standing low-field MRI represents a potentially useful diagnostic tool to diagnose advanced DIP-PDJD in horses.