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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To report the type, prevalence, and risk factors for the development of orthopedic injuries in endurance horses.

ANIMALS

235 endurance horses.

PROCEDURES

Medical records of horses examined between January 2007 and December 2018 were reviewed. Recorded data were birth; breed; sex; dates of first and last examinations; presence of any conformation fault, lameness, positive flexion test result, and orthopedic injury; starts in endurance competitions; level of athletic activity; professional status of trainer or rider; and whether an orthopedic injury developed in > 1 limb or during or within 2 days after competition, lameness resolved after treatment, reinjury occurred, horse was eliminated from competition after treatment, and the horse required retirement from endurance competitions. Anatomic locations of injuries were classified as proximal portion of the metacarpal area, midportion of the metacarpal area, metacarpo- or metatarsophalangeal (fetlock) area, tarsus, or foot. For each outcome, multivariable logistic regression models were developed after bivariable logistic regression and collinearity analyses.

RESULTS

351 orthopedic injuries were detected in 76.6% of the horses, with 27.1% that affected the fetlock area, 21.4% the proximal portion of the metacarpal area, 21.1% the foot, 12.8% the tarsus, 9.1% the midportion of the metacarpal area, and 8.5% other sites. High suspensory disease (21.4%) was the most common condition, followed by arthropathy of the metacarpo- or metatarsophalangeal joint (19.4%) and solar pain (14%). Age at first examination (OR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.37 to 2.11), months of observation (OR, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.05), conformation fault of forelimbs (OR, 4.08; 95% CI, 1.53 to 10.89), and amateur status (OR, 2.62; 95% CI, 1.86 to 7.99) remained significant in the final multivariable regression model for the development of orthopedic injuries.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

A large number of endurance horses developed ≥ 1 orthopedic injury during training or competition. Clinical and diagnostic examinations should be focused with particular attention to the metacarpophalangeal joints, proximal portion of the metacarpal area, and foot.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To develop a reliable method for injection of the tarsometatarsal (TMT) joint of horses through a medial approach and to characterize anatomy of the synovial recesses of the TMT joint with CT.

SAMPLE

13 pairs of fresh cadaveric equine tarsi.

PROCEDURES

TMT joints were assessed with radiography and CT. Twelve pairs of TMT joints were assigned to an experienced veterinarian (8 joints) or veterinary student (16 joints) for injection with contrast medium through a medial or a lateral approach. Every TMT joint was then reexamined radiographically and with CT to assess diffusion of contrast medium. The number of attempts for the lateral and medial approaches between and within investigators was evaluated, which included evaluation of the diffusion of contrast solution in relation to the approach used.

RESULTS

All 24 TMT joints were successfully injected, as confirmed with radiography and CT. There was no significant difference in the number of attempts between the medial and lateral approaches and between investigators. No significant difference was detected in the distribution of contrast medium in each synovial recess between the medial and lateral approaches.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The medial approach described here for injection of the TMT joint of horses was highly reliable. It involved use of an easily palpable anatomic landmark on the mediodistal aspect of the TMT joint. An established alternative method for injection of the TMT joint may be useful in clinical practice for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, although a medial approach may increase risk of injury to veterinarians.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine the influence of various neck positions on cervical vertebral radiographic measurements in horses.

ANIMALS 18 client-owned horses examined for lameness but free of cervical disease.

PROCEDURES Laterolateral radiographs of the cervical vertebrae from C1 through T1 were acquired for each horse in 3 neck positions (low, neutral, and high). Minimum sagittal diameter, intravertebral sagittal diameter (intra-VSD) ratio, inter-VSD ratio, length of the articular processes joint ratio, vertebral alignment angle, and vertebral fossa angle were measured at each segment in each neck position. Values for the high and low positions were compared with those for the neutral position.

RESULTS No significant differences from neutral position values were identified for minimum sagittal diameter, intra-VSD ratio, and vertebral fossa angle as measured in low and high neck positions. Compared with results in the neutral position, the high position resulted in a greater vertebral alignment angle at C3–4 and inter-VSD ratio at C4–5 and a lower length of the articular processes joint ratio at C2–3, C3–4, and C4–5; the low position resulted in a lower vertebral alignment angle at C4–5. However, all observed differences were small.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Neck position influenced some radiographic measurements of the cervical vertebrae in horses free of cervical disease. However, because several of these measurements were not or were only minimally affected by neck position, some latitude in neck position may be possible without concern about substantially affecting radiographic measurements in this region.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate changes in the cortical bone of the proximal phalanx of the fore-limbs of Thoroughbreds in response to training.

Animals—Twenty-seven 2-year-old Thoroughbreds (20 females, 2 males, and 5 geldings).

Procedures—Horses were principally in training for races in a straight line and in a clockwise direction. Lateromedial and dorsopalmar radiographic views of each metacarpophalangeal joint were obtained before the horses started training and 1 year after starting exercise and racing. Width of the dorsal, palmar, lateral, and medial cortex and the width and thickness of the medulla were measured. Ratios (rather than absolute values) were used to remove the effect of differences in bone size among horses.

Results—10 horses were lost from the study. Radiographs were obtained for 17 horses 1 year after starting training (9 horses raced in a clockwise direction, and 8 raced in clockwise and counterclockwise directions). There was no difference between the cortical bone in the right and left forelimbs at the start of the study. After training for 1 year, the palmar cortex in the right forelimb was significantly thicker than that in the left forelimb.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The strain patterns, biomechanics of rapid exercise, and type of training most probably determined differences in the adaptive responses of the proximal phalanx. The data reported here can be used in the evaluation of weight-bearing distribution along the proximal phalanx and evaluation of the relationship between exercise and bone remodelling of the proximal phalanx.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION 8 horses (5 geldings and 3 mares) were evaluated for laparoscopic closure of the nephrosplenic space following a history of recurrent left dorsal displacement of the large colon.

CLINICAL FINDINGS All horses underwent a physical examination and routine clinicopathologic testing. Transrectal palpation and transabdominal ultrasonography were performed to exclude the presence of organs in the left paralumbar region.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME A left flank laparoscopic approach with the horses standing was used. A continuous suture was placed in a craniocaudal direction between the renal and splenic capsules with unidirectional barbed suture material. This allowed obliteration of the nephrosplenic space without the need for knots to secure the leading and terminal ends of the suture line. In all horses, transrectal palpation was performed 2 months after surgery; at this time, closure of the caudal part of the nephrosplenic space was evident. In 2 horses, follow-up laparoscopy was performed, and complete closure of the nephrosplenic space was confirmed. Telephone follow-up revealed that none of the horses had any signs of recurrent left dorsal displacement of the large colon.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that laparoscopic nephrosplenic space closure with unidirectional barbed suture material could be considered as an option for prevention of left dorsal displacement of the large colon in horses. In the horses of this report, barbed suture material allowed secure ablation of the nephrosplenic space and eliminated the need for intracorporeal knot tying.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this prospective study was to investigate the prevalence and severity of radiographic abnormalities of the interspinous spaces (ISSs) in the thoracolumbar vertebral column of unbroken yearlings and to compare these findings with a group of older trained Thoroughbred horses without perceived back pain.

ANIMALS

Yearlings (n = 47) and trained horses (55); 102 total.

PROCEDURES

Each horse underwent a digital radiographic study of the thoracolumbar vertebral column (T7–L3) and each space graded for narrowing of the ISSs, increased opacity, radiolucency, and modeling of the cranial and caudal margins of 2 contiguous dorsal spinous processes (DSPs). This generated both an individual anatomical space score for each space and a total score for each horse for subsequent comparison. Statistical analysis of the results was then undertaken.

RESULTS

Narrowing and impingement were detected in a third of the examined ISSs, while DSP increased opacity, radiolucencies, and modeling were found in over half of the yearlings. The median total score per horse was 33 (0 to 96) in the yearlings and 30 (0 to 101) in trained horses, indicating no significant difference in radiographic abnormalities (P = .91). Likewise, the median total score per anatomical space was 112 (25 to 259) and 127.5 (24 to 284) in the yearlings and trained horses (P = .83). No differences were found between the groups for number of radiographic abnormalities, scores, and total score.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

This study reported the incidence of DSP radiographic abnormalities in Thoroughbred horses. The absence of difference in occurrence between yearlings and older horses supported a developmental rather than acquired etiology.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To provide a postmortem description of anatomic variations and changes of the lumbosacroiliac region in horses. The authors hypothesized that lesion severity would increase with age and body weight and correlate to anatomic variations.

SAMPLES

Lumbosacroiliac vertebral specimens from 38 horses (mean age, 16 years; range, 5 to 30 years) that died or were euthanized for reasons unrelated to the study between November 2019 and October 2021.

PROCEDURES

The lumbosacroiliac region of the vertebral column was removed from each cadaver. After dissection, disarticulation, and boiling, the anatomic specimens were examined for anatomic variations and osseous changes of the articular process joints (APJs), intertransverse joints (ITJs), and sacroiliac joints (SIJs). The lengths of L6-S1 intertransverse articular surfaces were measured and their ratios calculated. Descriptive statistics were obtained, and the χ2 test was used to assess differences in anatomic variations and abnormal changes of the APJs, ITJs, and SIJs.

RESULTS

The most common anatomic variation was a sacrum-like shape of the transverse processes of L6 (29/38 [76%]) and converging orientation of dorsal spinous process of L6 (33/38 [87%]). The highest prevalence of bony changes was detected at L5-L6 (right, 34/38 [89%]; left, 33/38 [87%]) and L6-S1 APJs (right, 38/38 [100%]; left, 37/38 [97%]) and at SIJs (right, 32/38 [86%]; left, 31/38 [82%]). The shape of L6 transverse processes differed between breed (P = .01) and was associated with presence of L4-L5 ITJs (P < .01).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Age and sex were associated with changes of the sacral dorsal spinous processes, ITJs, and APJs. The clinical significance of these findings could not be confirmed based on the study limitations.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association