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  • Author or Editor: Donna M. Groschen x
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Objective—To determine the maximum amount of flexion and extension of the carpal, tarsal, metacarpophalangeal, and metatarsophalangeal joints and the percentage duration of the stance and swing phases of the stride for horses walking on an underwater treadmill in various water depths.

Animals—9 healthy adult horses.

Procedures—Zinc oxide markers were placed on the forelimbs and hind limbs of the horses. Video was recorded of horses walking (0.9 m/s) on an underwater treadmill during baseline conditions (< 1 cm of water) or in various amounts of water (level of the metatarsophalangeal, tarsal, and stifle joints). Maximum amount of joint flexion and extension, range of motion (ROM), and the percentage durations of the stance and swing phases of the stride were determined with 2-D motion analysis software.

Results—The ROM was greater for all evaluated joints in any amount of water versus ROM for joints in baseline conditions (primarily because of increases in amount of joint flexion). The greatest ROM for carpal joints was detected in a tarsal joint water depth, for tarsal joints in a stifle joint water depth, and for metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal joints in metatarsophalangeal and tarsal joint water depths. As water depth increased, the percentage durations of the stance and swing phases of the stride significantly decreased and increased, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this study suggested that exercise on an underwater treadmill is useful for increasing the ROM of various joints of horses during rehabilitation and that the depth of water affects the amount of flexion and extension of joints.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


OBJECTIVE To evaluate the biochemical and biomechanical properties of native and decellularized superficial digital flexor tendons (SDFTs) and deep digital flexor tendons (DDFTs) harvested from the pelvic limbs of orthopedically normal dogs.

SAMPLE 22 commercially supplied tendon specimens (10 SDFT and 12 DDFT) harvested from the pelvic limbs of 13 canine cadavers.

PROCEDURES DNA, glycosaminoglycan, collagen, and protein content were measured to biochemically compare native and decellularized SDFT and DDFT specimens. Mechanical testing was performed on 4 groups consisting of native tendons (5 SDFTs and 6 DDFTs) and decellularized tendons (5 SDFTs and 6 DDFTs). All tendons were preconditioned, and tension was applied to failure at 0.5 mm/s. Failure mode was video recorded for each tendon. Load-deformation and stress-strain curves were generated; calculations were performed to determine the Young modulus and stiffness. Biochemical and biomechanical data were statistically compared by use of the Wilcoxon rank sum test.

RESULTS Decellularized SDFT and DDFT specimens had significantly less DNA content than did native tendons. No significant differences were identified between native and decellularized specimens with respect to glycosaminoglycan, collagen, or protein content. Biomechanical comparison yielded no significant intra- or intergroup differences. All DDFT constructs failed at the tendon-clamp interface, whereas nearly half (4/10) of the SDFT constructs failed at midsubstance.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Decellularized commercial canine SDFT and DDFT specimens had similar biomechanical properties, compared with each other and with native tendons. The decellularization process significantly decreased DNA content while minimizing loss of extracellular matrix components. Decellularized canine flexor tendons may provide suitable, biocompatible graft scaffolds for bioengineering applications such as tendon or ligament repair.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research