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OBJECTIVE To compare bony changes of the third metacarpal bone (MC3) of Thoroughbred racehorse cadavers with (cases) or without (controls) catastrophic condylar fracture by use of standing MRI.

SAMPLE 140 forelimbs from 26 case horses (both forelimbs) and 88 control horses (single forelimb).

PROCEDURES Bone marrow lesions (BMLs), identified as a decrease in T1-weighted (T1W) signal and increases in T2*-weighted (T2*W) and short tau inversion recovery (STIR) signals, and dense bone volume percentage (DBVP), identified as decreases in T1W, T2*W, and STIR signals, in the distopalmar aspect of MC3 were recorded. Logistic regression was used to compare fractured and nonfractured limbs of cases and fractured limbs of cases with randomly selected limbs of controls.

RESULTS Among cases, fractured limbs were significantly more likely to have BMLs (26/26 [100%]) than were nonfractured limbs (7/26 [27%]). Fractured limbs of cases were significantly more likely to have BMLs (26/26 [100%]) than were limbs of controls (6/88 [7%]). Among cases, there was no significant difference in DBVP between fractured and nonfractured limbs in lateral (26% vs 21%, respectively) or medial (25% vs 20%, respectively) condyles. However, DBVP was significantly greater in fractured limbs of cases than in limbs of controls for lateral (26% vs 16%, respectively) and medial (25% vs 18%, respectively) condyles.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Standing MRI revealed a significantly greater degree of bone change in racehorses with condylar fracture when comparing fractured and nonfractured limbs of case horses and fractured limbs of case horses with randomly selected limbs of control horses.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To compare bony changes in the metacarpophalangeal joint (MCPJ) of racehorses with (cases) and without (controls) biaxial proximal sesamoid bone (PSB) fracture as determined by 2 grading scales applied to images of cadaveric forelimbs obtained by means of standing MRI (sMRI).

Design—Case-control study.

Sample—Forelimbs from 74 Thoroughbred racehorses (21 cases and 53 controls) that were euthanized at a Florida racetrack.

Procedures—Both forelimbs were harvested from cases and controls. Each forelimb underwent sMRI to obtain images of the MCPJ. Two grading scales were described and used for image evaluation; one assessed the density of the PSBs, and the other assessed the integrity of the subchondral bone (SCB) plate at the distopalmar aspect of the third metacarpal bone (MC3). Logistic regression was used to compare the grades between case and control limbs.

Results—Biaxial PSB fracture was associated with a total PSB grade (sum of lateral and medial PSB grades) ≥ 5 for the fractured limb, total MC3 SCB grade (sum of lateral and medial MC3 SCB grades) ≥ 5 for the contralateral limb, and the presence of orthopedic disease in the contralateral MC3.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—For cases with biaxial PSB fracture, the density of the PSBs in the affected limb was greater and the MC3 of the contralateral limb was more likely to have orthopedic disease, compared with those for controls. Further evaluation of sMRI as a screening tool for identification of racehorses at risk of biaxial PSB fracture is warranted. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2015;246:661–673)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association