To determine type, distribution, and radiographic appearance of condylar fractures of the third metacarpal bone (MC-3) or third metatarsal bone (MT-3) in Thoroughbreds (TB), Standardbreds (SB), and Arabians, to assess long-term outcome of horses in which fractures were repaired surgically, and to identify variables associated with prognosis for return to racing.
224 horses with 233 fractures.
Medical records and radiographs obtained before and after treatment were reviewed. Racing performance before and after treatment was determined by reviewing race records.
TB were overrepresented and SB were underrepresented, compared with the hospital population. Thoroughbreds had significantly more lateral condylar fractures and significantly more forelimb fractures than did SB. Thoroughbreds were less likely to race after treatment if they had complete, rather than incomplete, lateral condylar fracture or had concurrent proximal sesamoid bone fracture. Convalescent time for TB with medial condylar fractures of MT-3 was significantly longer than that for TB with lateral condylar fractures of MT-3.
Horses with condylar fractures of MC-3 and MT-3 that had minimal pathologic changes in the involved joint had a favorable prognosis for returning to racing after surgical treatment. Prognosis for horses with complete condylar fractures, particularly those with substantial pathologic changes in the involved joint, was worse. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;212: 1757–1764)