OBJECTIVE To describe the clinical features, diagnostic procedures, management, and outcome of horses with peripheral neuropathy of a forelimb.
DESIGN Retrospective case series.
ANIMALS 27 horses.
PROCEDURES Records from 2000 to 2013 were reviewed to identify horses with peripheral neuropathy of a forelimb. Horses were grouped as having predominant lesions of a suprascapular nerve, axillary nerve, or radial nerve (alone or in association with other brachial plexus nerves) on the basis of physical examination and diagnostic imaging findings. Treatments were primarily conservative. Signalment, history, lameness characteristics, diagnostic imaging features, case management, and outcomes were evaluated.
RESULTS Predominant lesions of a suprascapular nerve, axillary nerve, and radial nerve were identified in 11, 2, and 14 horses, respectively. Eight horses with predominant suprascapular nerve injury and 9 with injury to a radial nerve alone or in association with other nerves returned to their previous activity level or intended use after mean recovery periods of 9.3 and 13.3 months, respectively; 2 horses with a predominant axillary nerve injury had this outcome after a mean 3.5-month recovery period. Ultrasonography was useful for evaluation of muscle atrophy and other injuries during the initial examination (in 27 horses) and the rehabilitation period (in 7 horses).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Most horses with peripheral neuropathy of a forelimb returned to athletic soundness following an adequate period of rest. Horses with lesions of a radial nerve alone or in association with other nerves typically required longer recovery times than did those with predominant injuries of a suprascapular nerve.
OBJECTIVE To evaluate the effect of track surface firmness on the development of musculoskeletal injuries in French Trotters during 4 months of race training.
ANIMALS 12 healthy 3-year-old French Trotters.
PROCEDURES Horses were paired on the basis of sex and body mass. Horses within each pair were randomly assigned to either a hard-track or soft-track group. The counterclockwise training protocol was the same for both groups. Surface firmness of each track was monitored throughout the training period. Radiography, ultrasonography, MRI, and scintigraphy were performed on all 4 limbs of each horse before and after 2 and 4 months of training. Lesions were described, and lesion severity was classified with a 5-point system, where 0 = no lesions and 4 = severe lesion.
RESULTS 86 lesions were identified, of which 46 (53.5%) were classified as potentially clinically relevant (grade, ≥ 2). Of the 18 moderate and severe lesions, 15 were identified in horses of the hard-track group, and 10 of those were in forelimbs. Moderate to severe tendinopathy of the superficial digital flexor tendon of the forelimb developed in 3 of the 6 horses of the hard-track group but none of the horses of the soft-track group. Metatarsal condyle injuries were more frequent in horses of the hard-track group than horses of the soft-track group. Severe lesions were identified only in left limbs.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that track surface firmness is a risk factor for musculoskeletal injuries in horses trained for harness racing.