Objective—To provide a detailed description of the vascular anatomy of the distal portion of the forelimbs of horses by use of computed tomography angiography (CTA).
Sample Population—6 forelimbs of 5 horses and 1 forelimb from an equine cadaver; none of the horses had orthopedic or vascular disease.
Procedure—Horses were anesthetized and CTA was conducted on the dependent forelimb. A catheter was inserted in the median artery, and contrast medium was infused at a rate of 3 mL/s. A computed tomography (CT) scanner was used to obtain contiguous slices from the region of the proximal sesamoid bones to the toe. All horses were allowed to recover from anesthesia. To help identify vessel patterns in the distal portion of the forelimb, the median artery and lateral palmar digital vein of a heparinized forelimb obtained from an equine cadaver were infused with red and blue polymethylmethacrylate and the distal portion of that forelimb was then sectioned to correspond to CTA images.
Results—Vessel patterns in CTA images matched vascular anatomic structures of the cadaver forelimb and were consistent with published anatomic structures. Major and minor vessels were consistently visible in CTA images of all horses. There were no complications reported in any horses.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Use of CTA provided a highly detailed depiction of the vasculature of the distal portion of the equine forelimb. This was a safe technique and should be useful in the evaluation of the blood supply to the distal portion of the forelimb. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1409–1420)