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Objective—To evaluate changes in the cortical bone of the proximal phalanx of the fore-limbs of Thoroughbreds in response to training.
Animals—Twenty-seven 2-year-old Thoroughbreds (20 females, 2 males, and 5 geldings).
Procedures—Horses were principally in training for races in a straight line and in a clockwise direction. Lateromedial and dorsopalmar radiographic views of each metacarpophalangeal joint were obtained before the horses started training and 1 year after starting exercise and racing. Width of the dorsal, palmar, lateral, and medial cortex and the width and thickness of the medulla were measured. Ratios (rather than absolute values) were used to remove the effect of differences in bone size among horses.
Results—10 horses were lost from the study. Radiographs were obtained for 17 horses 1 year after starting training (9 horses raced in a clockwise direction, and 8 raced in clockwise and counterclockwise directions). There was no difference between the cortical bone in the right and left forelimbs at the start of the study. After training for 1 year, the palmar cortex in the right forelimb was significantly thicker than that in the left forelimb.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The strain patterns, biomechanics of rapid exercise, and type of training most probably determined differences in the adaptive responses of the proximal phalanx. The data reported here can be used in the evaluation of weight-bearing distribution along the proximal phalanx and evaluation of the relationship between exercise and bone remodelling of the proximal phalanx.
To provide a postmortem description of anatomic variations and changes of the lumbosacroiliac region in horses. The authors hypothesized that lesion severity would increase with age and body weight and correlate to anatomic variations.
Lumbosacroiliac vertebral specimens from 38 horses (mean age, 16 years; range, 5 to 30 years) that died or were euthanized for reasons unrelated to the study between November 2019 and October 2021.
The lumbosacroiliac region of the vertebral column was removed from each cadaver. After dissection, disarticulation, and boiling, the anatomic specimens were examined for anatomic variations and osseous changes of the articular process joints (APJs), intertransverse joints (ITJs), and sacroiliac joints (SIJs). The lengths of L6-S1 intertransverse articular surfaces were measured and their ratios calculated. Descriptive statistics were obtained, and the χ2 test was used to assess differences in anatomic variations and abnormal changes of the APJs, ITJs, and SIJs.
The most common anatomic variation was a sacrum-like shape of the transverse processes of L6 (29/38 [76%]) and converging orientation of dorsal spinous process of L6 (33/38 [87%]). The highest prevalence of bony changes was detected at L5-L6 (right, 34/38 [89%]; left, 33/38 [87%]) and L6-S1 APJs (right, 38/38 [100%]; left, 37/38 [97%]) and at SIJs (right, 32/38 [86%]; left, 31/38 [82%]). The shape of L6 transverse processes differed between breed (P = .01) and was associated with presence of L4-L5 ITJs (P < .01).
Age and sex were associated with changes of the sacral dorsal spinous processes, ITJs, and APJs. The clinical significance of these findings could not be confirmed based on the study limitations.