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  • Author or Editor: Thomas O. C. Ratcliffe x
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To evaluate and compare the prognosis for Thoroughbred racehorses to return to galloping and racing with injuries to the palmaroproximal metacarpus diagnosed with MRI.


29 flat racing Thoroughbreds at the Hong Kong Jockey Club that underwent MRI between 2014 and 2022.


Clinical, radiographic, ultrasonographic, and MRI reports were collected from veterinary clinical records, and these were combined with training and racing data. Horses were categorized on the basis of MRI diagnosis: (1) proximal suspensory ligament (PSL) involvement only, (2) PSL and concurrent proximal third metacarpal (MC3) bone involvement, and (3) proximal MC3 bone involvement only. The following were compared for prognosis for return to athletic function: return to galloping or racing, and reinjury.


Overall, the prognosis for return to athletic function was fair, with 92% (22/24; P = .53) and 67% (16/24; P = .73) of horses returning to galloping and racing, respectively. There was a relatively low reinjury rate, with 18% (4/22) of horses reinjuring. Horses with concurrent injury to both the PSL and proximal MC3 bone (Category 2) took longer to return to gallop (median, 116; IQR, 100.5 to 160), when compared with horses having only PSL injury (median, 69; IQR, 43 to 80; P = .04). Of the 4 horses that reinjured, 3 (75%) were horses in Category 2.


The findings from this study suggest that injuries involving both PSL and proximal MC3 bone concurrently require a longer rehabilitation period than those with PSL involvement alone.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association