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OBJECTIVE To identify whether age, sex, or breed is associated with crown height of the left and right maxillary first molar tooth (M1) measured on CT images, to develop a mathematical model to determine age of horses by use of M1 crown height, and to determine the correlation between M1 crown height measured on radiographic and CT images.

SAMPLE CT (n = 735) and radiographic images (35) of the heads of horses.

PROCEDURES Crown height of left and right M1 was digitally measured on axial CT views. Height was measured on a lateral radiographic image when available. Linear regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with crown height. Half the data set was subsequently used to generate a regression model to predict age on the basis of M1 crown height, and the other half was used to validate accuracy of the predictions.

RESULTS M1 crown height decreased with increasing age, but the rate of decrease slowed with increasing age. Height also differed by sex and breed. The model most accurately reflected age of horses < 10 years old, although age was overestimated by a mean of 0.1 years. The correlation between radiographic and CT crown height of M1 was 0.91; the mean for radiographic measurements was 2.5 mm greater than for CT measurements.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE M1 crown height can be used to predict age of horses. Results for CT images correlated well with those for radiographic images. Studies are needed to develop a comparable model with results for radiographic images.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To determine the holding capacity of a 5.5-mm-diameter cortical bone screw when placed in the third phalanx (P3) of horses and assess whether screw placement through the dorsal hoof wall into P3 would be tolerated by clinically normal horses and would alleviate signs of pain and prevent P3 rotation in horses with oligofructose-induced laminitis.


40 limbs from 10 equine cadavers and 19 clinically normal adult horses.


In part 1 of a 3-part study, a 5.5-mm-diameter cortical bone screw was inserted by use of a lag-screw technique through the dorsal hoof wall midline into P3 of 40 cadaveric limbs and tested to failure to determine screw pullout force. In part 2, 6 horses had 5.5-mm-diameter cortical bone screws placed in both forefeet as described for part 1. Screws were removed 4 days after placement. Horses were monitored for lameness before and for 2 weeks after screw removal. In part 3, 13 horses were randomly assigned to serve as controls (n = 3) or undergo screw placement without (group 2; 6) or with (group 3; 4) a washer. Following the acquisition of baseline data, horses were sedated and administered oligofructose (10 g/kg) via a stomach tube. Twenty-four hours later, screws were placed as previously described in both forefeet of horses in groups 2 and 3. Horses were assessed every 4 hours, and radiographic images of the feet were obtained at 96 and 120 hours after oligofructose administration. Horses were euthanized, and the feet were harvested for histologic examination.


The mean ± SD screw pullout force was 3,908.7 ± 1,473.4 N, and it was positively affected by the depth of screw insertion into P3. Horses of part 2 tolerated screw placement and removal well and did not become lame. All horses of part 3 developed signs of acute lameness, and the distance between P3 and the dorsal hoof wall increased slightly over time. The change in the ratio of the dorsal hoof wall width at the extensor process of P3 to that at the tip of P3 over time was the only variable significantly associated with treatment.


Placement of a 5.5-mm-diameter cortical bone screw through the dorsal hoof wall into P3 had sufficient holding power to counteract the pull of the deep digital flexor tendon in approximately 500-kg horses, and placement of such a screw was well tolerated by clinically normal horses but did not alleviate signs of pain in horses with oligofructose-induced laminitis. Further research is necessary before this technique can be recommended for horses with naturally occurring acute laminitis.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research