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  • Author or Editor: Robert M. Bowker x
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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate morphologic changes of the stratum internum of hooves from near-term fetal, newborn, and yearling horses.

Animals—Feet from 27 near-term equine fetuses, 19 newborn foals, and 8 yearlings.

Procedures—Primary epidermal laminae (PEL) of the stratum internum were examined for evidence of architectural changes.

Results—In near-term fetuses, the PEL had a homogeneous appearance and symmetric distribution around the hoof wall with no significant differences in PEL density between the toe and quarters. However after birth, branched laminae at the toe formed within the first few weeks, which significantly increased PEL density at the toe, compared with the quarters. In yearlings, morphology of the PEL differed from that in younger foals and the PEL density was significantly greater at the toe than the quarters. The PEL density at the toe and medial and lateral quarters was significantly different from each other, as these PEL densities appeared to have been associated with conformation. No significant differences in PEL densities between forefeet and hind feet were detected in any group.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings indicate that the stratum internum of the inner hoof wall undergoes several morphologic changes shortly after birth. The PEL become branched with a greater PEL density at the toe than the quarters. In an asymmetric foot, more PEL were associated with the sloping side than the steep side of the foot. Findings suggested that PEL growth may also occur by bifurcation as well as by mitosis from the coronet and that wall stress may be associated with increased PEL density.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To describe the vascular anatomy of the palmar digital artery and its major branches in the equine foot and to quantify the diameter of these vessels by use of digital angiograms.

Sample Population—6 thoracic limbs obtained from 6 horses.

Procedure—Distal portions of each limb were perfused with aerated Krebs-Henseleit solution. Digital angiograms were acquired in standing and lateral recumbent positions, following an intra-arterial injection of iopamidol. Select vessels were measured on radiographic views, and values were corrected for magnification.

Results—The palmar digital artery tapered from 2.28 mm at the coronary region to 1.61 mm at the entrance to the solar canal, and the major arterial branches ranged in diameter from 0.71 to 1.42 mm in the standing position.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Digital angiography is useful for imaging small vessels, but penumbra limits the image resolution of the macrovasculature of the foot. The palmarodorsal projection is more useful for evaluation of the terminal arch and solar branches, but 2 projections are necessary for a thorough examination of the foot. Image magnification, position of horse, and vascular response to contrast medium must be considered in the quantitative assessment of vessel diameter. Digital angiography may be performed in clinical cases and research models for examination of vascular perfusion of the distal portion of the limb. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:255–259)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To quantify the density of primary epidermal laminae (PELs) around the solar circumference and evaluate the relationship between regional PEL density and hoof capsule morphology in horses.

Sample Population—Forefeet from nine 3-year-old Quarter Horse cadavers.

Procedures—Data pertaining to gross features of hoof morphology and PEL variables, including number, density, and distribution patterns around the perimeter of the hoof wall and number of bar PELs, were collected. Tissues of the laminar junction were examined histologically.

Results—No significant differences were found between left and right forefeet with respect to gross hoof morphologic measurements. Mean ± SD number of PELs, including those at the bars of the hoof, was 551 ± 30. Primary epidermal laminar density in the toe was significantly higher, compared with that in the quarter and heel regions, and was higher on the lateral aspect of the foot, compared with the medial aspect. Feet were significantly wider on the lateral aspect of the foot, compared with the medial aspect, as measured across the widest point of the solar surface. Histologic examination revealed atypical laminar morphology at the toe.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Variations were detected in PEL density and morphology around the solar circumference of hooves from 3-year-old racing Quarter Horses. A better understanding of relationships between laminar density, laminar morphology, and gross morphology of the hoof capsule in different populations of horses may aid practitioners in diagnosis and treatment of disease involving the hoof wall in horses.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To localize substance P (SP) and neurokinin A (NKA) and their receptors in the insertion of the distal sesamoidean impar ligament (DSIL), deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT), and dorsal hoof wall of healthy feet of horses.

Sample Population—18 healthy feet from horses.

Procedure—Samples from the dorsal hoof wall and insertion of the DSIL and DDFT of 10 feet were processed for immunocytochemical analysis, using rabbit polyclonal antisera raised against SP and NKA. Tissue sections from 8 feet were incubated with I125-labeled SP to localize tachykinin receptors and their specificity and with control solutions of radioactive SP and excess nonradioactive SP to identify areas of nonspecific binding.

Results—Many nerves immunoreactive for SP and NKA were localized to the region of the insertion of the DSIL and DDFT and the accompanying microvasculature and arteriovenous complexes (AVC) as well as to the microvasculature of the dorsal hoof wall. Specific neurokinin 1 receptors were localized over the microvessels and AVC of the insertion zone and small microvessels of the hoof wall.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These results document that the microvasculature of the equine foot is richly innervated and has specific receptors for tachykinins. Distributions of these tachykinin receptors on the microvasculature suggest that they form an important vasodilatory mechanism for controlling blood flow through the DSIL-DDFT insertion and dorsal hoof wall. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:222–228)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To describe microanatomic characteristics of the insertion of the distal sesamoidean impar ligament (DSIL) and deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) on the distal phalanx in horses.

Sample Population—Healthy feet obtained from 62 horses of various breeds.

Procedure—Feet from 23 horses were used to histologically examine the insertion of the DSIL and DDFT (n = 7), its vasculature (10), and neural elements (6). In 39 other horses, the insertion zone was examined for proteoglycan.

Results—The insertion of the DSIL and dorsal half of the DDFT contained bundles of collagen fibers with intervening loose connective tissue septa with arteriovenous complexes (AVC) and nerve fibers. Microscopic examination revealed adaptive changes in the insertion with regard to proteoglycan content. In young adult horses, little or no staining for proteoglycans was evident, whereas in middle-aged horses, moderate proteoglycan staining was seen. Six older horses had slight proteoglycan staining at the insertion.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The study revealed that this region contained a rich neurovascular complex between the collagen bundles. A gradual increase in production of proteoglycan, evident at the insertion of the DSIL and DDFT on the distal phalanx, indicates that adaptive responses to stress rather than age alone may be the primary determining factor. These observations indicate that this insertion site may be susceptible to stress during stance and impact loading, because this region appears to be strategically situated to regulate important neurovascular functions of the foot. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:215–221)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To examine the equine foot for the presence of sensory receptors including Merkel cells and small lamellated Pacinian-like corpuscles (SLPCs).

SAMPLE Forefeet obtained from 7 horses following euthanasia for reasons other than foot disease.

PROCEDURES Disarticulated feet were cut into either sagittal sections or cross sections and immersed in neutral-buffered 4% formalin. Following fixation, samples were obtained from the midline of the dorsal aspect of the hoof wall and from the frog (cuneus ungulae) between the apex and central sulcus. The formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded hoof wall and frog sections were routinely processed for peroxidase immunohistochemistry and stained with H&E, Alcian blue, and Masson trichrome stains for histologic evaluation.

RESULTS Sensory myelinated nerves and specific receptors were identified within the epidermal and dermal tissues of the equine foot including the hoof wall laminae, coronet, and frog. Merkel cells were identified with specific antisera to villin, cytokeratin 20, and protein gene product 9.5 in coronet epidermis and hoof wall. These cells were interspersed among basilar keratinocytes within the frog, coronary epidermis, and secondary epidermal laminae. The SLPCs were present within the superficial dermis associated with the central ridge of the frog (ie, frog stay). Numerous S100 protein and protein gene product 9.5 immunoreactive sensory nerves in close proximity to these receptors were present throughout the dermal tissues within both the frog and hoof wall.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The presence of Merkel cells and SLPCs that are known to detect tactile and vibrational stimuli, respectively, further defined the diverse range of neural elements within the equine foot.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To examine articular cartilage of the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint and distal sesamoidean impar ligament (DSIL) as well as the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) for adaptive responses to contact stress.

Sample Population—Specimens from 21 horses.

Procedure—Pressure-sensitive film was inserted between articular surfaces of the DIP joint. The digit was subjected to a load. Finite element models (FEM) were developed from the data. The navicular bone, distal phalanx, and distal attachments of the DSIL and DDFT were examined histologically.

Results—Analysis of pressure-sensitive film revealed significant increases in contact area and contact load at dorsiflexion in the joints between the distal phalanx and navicular bone and between the middle phalanx and navicular bone. The FEM results revealed compressive and shear stresses. Histologic evaluation revealed loss of proteoglycans in articular cartilage from older horses (7 to 27 years old). Tidemark advancement (up to 14 tidemarks) was observed in articular cartilage between the distal phalanx and navicular bone in older clinically normal horses. In 2 horses with navicular syndrome, more tidemarks were evident. Clinically normal horses had a progressive increase in proteoglycans in the DSIL and DDFT.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Load on the navicular bone and associated joints was highest during dorsiflexion. This increased load may be responsible for microscopic changes of tidemark advancement and proteoglycan depletion in the articular cartilage and of proteoglycan production in the DSIL and DDFT. Such microscopic changes may represent adaptive responses to stresses that may progress and contribute to lameness. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:414–424)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research