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.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
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.