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Abstract

Objective—To validate use of magnetic resonance images (MRIs) for measurement of equine articular cartilage and subchondral bone thickness by comparison with measurements in histologic specimens.

Sample Population—32 cadaveric carpal joints from 16 horses.

Procedure—Magnetic resonance imaging was performed by use of 3-dimensional fast spoiled gradient echo (SPGR) and T2* 3-dimensional fast gradient echo (GRE) pulse sequences with and without fat saturation. Standard sites on the medial and lateral facets of the intermediate, radial, and third carpal bones were used for subchondral bone and articular cartilage thickness measurements. Digital image analysis software was used for MRI measurements 10 mm from the dorsal extent and perpendicular to the articular surface. Histomorphometric measurements of hyaline, calcified cartilage, and subchondral bone thickness were obtained at selected sites. Comparisons between histomorphometric and MRI measurements and between magnetic resonance pulse sequences were evaluated.

Results—There were significant correlations between GRE and SPGR and SPGR and histologic measurements of articular cartilage, with no significant difference between measurements and good agreement. When calcified cartilage was excluded from the histologic measurement, MRI measurements were significantly greater than histologic measurements. For subchondral bone thickness, there was significant correlation between GRE and SPGR but GRE was significantly greater than SPGR measurements. Histomorphometric and MRI measurements were strongly correlated and not significantly different.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Magnetic resonance imaging provides a good representation of cartilage and subchondral bone thickness, supporting its use in the study and clinical diagnosis of osteochondral structure and alteration. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1999–2005)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To investigate effects of exercise on hyaline cartilage (HC), calcified cartilage (CC), and subchondral bone (SCB) thickness patterns of equine tarsi.

Sample Population—30 tarsi from cadavers of horses with known exercise history.

Procedures—Tarsi were assigned to 3 groups according to known exercise history as follows: pasture exercise only (PE tarsi), low-intensity general-purpose riding exercise (LE tarsi), and high-intensity elite competition riding exercise (EE tarsi). Osteochondral tissue from distal tarsal joints underwent histologic preparation. Hyaline cartilage, CC, and SCB thickness were measured at standard sites at medial, midline, and lateral locations across joints with a histomorphometric technique.

Results—HC, CC, and SCB thickness were significantly greater at all sites in EE tarsi, compared with PE tarsi; this was also true when LE tarsi were compared with PE tarsi. At specific sites, HC, CC, and SCB were significantly thicker in EE tarsi, compared with LE tarsi. Along the articular surface of the proximal aspect of the third metatarsal bone, SCB was thickest in EE tarsi and thinnest in LE tarsi; increases were greatest at sites previously reported to undergo peak strains and osteochondral damage.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Increased exercise was associated with increased HC, CC, and SCB thickness in mature horses. At sites that undergo high compressive strains, with a reported predisposition to osteoarthritic change, there was increased CC and SCB thickness. These results may provide insight into the interaction between adaptive response to exercise and pathological change.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To establish and validate an objective method of radiographic diagnosis of anatomic changes in laminitic forefeet of donkeys on the basis of data from a comprehensive series of radiographic measurements.

Animals—85 donkeys with and 85 without forelimb laminitis for baseline data determination; a cohort of 44 donkeys with and 18 without forelimb laminitis was used for validation analyses.

Procedures—For each donkey, lateromedial radiographic views of 1 weight-bearing forelimb were obtained; images from 11 laminitic and 2 nonlaminitic donkeys were excluded (motion artifact) from baseline data determination. Data from an a priori selection of 19 measurements of anatomic features of laminitic and nonlaminitic donkey feet were analyzed by use of a novel application of multivariate statistical techniques. The resultant diagnostic models were validated in a blinded manner with data from the separate cohort of laminitic and nonlaminitic donkeys.

Results—Data were modeled, and robust statistical rules were established for the diagnosis of anatomic changes within laminitic donkey forefeet. Component 1 scores ≤ −3.5 were indicative of extreme anatomic change, and scores from −2.0 to 0.0 denoted modest change. Nonlaminitic donkeys with a score from 0.5 to 1.0 should be considered as at risk for laminitis.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that the radiographic procedures evaluated can be used for the identification, assessment, and monitoring of anatomic changes associated with laminitis. Screening assessments by use of this method may enable early detection of mild anatomic change and identification of at-risk donkeys.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Summary

Biaxial palmar digital neurectomy of all limbs was performed on 6 mixed-breed castrated adult male horses, using a standard guillotine method. Using a Teflon catheter, 20 mg (2 ml) of sodium hyaluronate (group 1), 2 ml of phosphate-buffered saline solution (group 2), or catheter placement with no infusion (group 3) was applied to 4 (group 1) or 2 (groups 2 and 3) of 8 incisions/horse. Treatments were administered after closure of the neurectomy incision, and the catheter was removed. Horses were evaluated daily for 1 week, then weekly over a 9- week period for evidence of lameness, swelling, and ultrasonographic changes. On week 9, horses were euthanatized and neurectomy sites were removed en bloc for histologic evaluation of axonal regrowth, inflammation, and fibrosis. Neither lameness nor sign of painful neuroma was observed clinically in any of the horses. Neurectomy eliminated cutaneous heel sensation in all limbs for the duration of the study. Swelling was evident at all neurectomy sites. There were no significant differences between treatment sites for measurement of pastern circumference or ultrasonographic evaluation of incisional swelling. Foci of ultrasonographic hyperechogenicity increased over time, but there was no significant difference in hyperechogenicity between treatment groups. Histologic evidence of neuroma formation was observed at all sites. Morphometric assessment of neuroma cross-sectional areas revealed no significant difference between the groups, as did subjective histologic assessment of neuroma density and fibrous tissue content. We conclude that there are no clinical, ultrasonographic, or histologic effects on neuroma formation and fibrosis at sites of palmar digital neurectomy associated with a single perineural administration of sodium hyaluronate or phosphate-buffered saline solution.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To investigate effects of age on thickness and morphologic characteristics of hyaline cartilage, calcified cartilage, total cartilage, and subchondral bone (SCB) in the equine tarsometatarsal joint.

Sample Population—23 tarsal joints from cadavers of 23 ponies (11 days to 25 years old); ponies were limited to pasture exercise and euthanatized for reasons not related to this study.

Procedures—Tarsi were allocated into several age groups (11 days old [n = 3], 6 to 9 months old [4], 2 to 3 years old [3], 6 to 8 years old [4], 11 to 17 years old [6], and 20 to 25 years old [3]). Histologic examination and histomorphometric measurement of hyaline cartilage, calcified cartilage, total cartilage, and SCB were performed at medial and lateral sites.

Results—A significant decrease was detected in thickness of hyaline cartilage and total cartilage with increasing age, but there was a significant increase in thickness of calcified cartilage and SCB with increasing age. Differences in chondrocyte and collagen fiber arrangement, tidemark, and osteochondral junction morphology were evident among age groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These findings suggested that the various tissues of the osteochondral unit change in different ways with age. The response of each tissue may be related to relative response of the tissues to strains induced by pasture exercise but could have an influence on how the overall properties of the osteochondral unit change with age. The findings may also be suggestive of changes that develop prior to the onset of osteoarthritis.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether histopathologic characteristics of the osteochondral units of equine distal tarsal joints were associated with exercise history in horses without lameness.

Sample Population—30 cadaver tarsi from horses without lameness and with known exercise history were separated into 3 groups: nonridden, pasture exercise (group P); low-intensity, ridden exercise (group L); and high-intensity, elite competition exercise (group E).

Procedures—Standardized sites from the centrodistal and tarsometatarsal joints under went histologic preparation. A grading system was adapted to describe location, depth, and shape of lesions; cellular arrangement; organization at cartilage and subchondral bone (SCB) junctions; and organization of SCB. A high score signified a more severe pathological change than a low score. Exercise groups were compared by calculation of Spearman rank correlations.

Results—In the centrodistal joint, lesions were present in groups L and E but only medially. Cellular arrangement scores were higher at the dorsomedial location in group P than in groups L and E. Groups L and E had higher scores than group P for the organization of the cartilage, SCB junctions, and SCB, with higher scores at the dorsomedial location. In the tarsometatarsal joint, lesions were evident across the whole joint surface, with more severe lesions located laterally in all 3 groups. Overall, group E had higher scores for cellular arrangement and SCB organization than groups P and L.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Ridden exercise may increase the risk of osteochondral lesions at distal tarsal sites predisposed to osteoarthritis relative to the risk with nonridden exercise.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research