Deep digital flexor tenotomy as a treatment for chronic laminitis in horses: 35 cases (1988-1997)

Timothy G. Eastman From the Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, Texas Veterinary Medical Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4475.

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Clifford M. Honnas From the Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, Texas Veterinary Medical Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4475.

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Brent A. Hague From the Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, Texas Veterinary Medical Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4475.

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William Moyer From the Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, Texas Veterinary Medical Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4475.

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Horzt Dieter von der Rosen From the Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, Texas Veterinary Medical Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4475.

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Objective

To determine long-term prognosis for horses with laminitis treated by deep digital flexor (DDF) tenotomy and to identify factors affecting success of the surgical procedure.

Design

Retrospective study.

Animals

35 horses with laminitis treated by DDF tenotomy between 1988 and 1997.

Procedure

Information was obtained from individual medical records and follow-up telephone interviews with owners and referring veterinarians. Cumulative proportions of horses that survived 6 months and 2 years after tenotomy were determined. Effect of Obel grade of lameness on 6-month and 2-year survival and effect of distal phalangeal rotation on survival and future performance were evaluated by χ2 analysis. Body weights of horses that survived ≥ 2 years were compared with those of horses that survived < 2 years by ANOVA.

Results

27 of the 35 (77%) horses survived ≥ 6 months, and 19 of 32 (59%) survived > 2 years. Obel grade of lameness and body weight at time of surgery had no effect on 6-month or 2-year survival. Degree of distal phalangeal rotation had no effect on 2-year survival or the ability of horses to be used for light riding. Twenty-two of the 30 (73%) owners interviewed indicated they would have the procedure repeated on their horses given similar circumstances.

Clinical Implications

DDF tenotomy is a viable alternative for horses with laminitis refractory to conventional medical treatment. In some instances, the procedure may be effective in returning horses to light athletic use. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;214:517–519).

Objective

To determine long-term prognosis for horses with laminitis treated by deep digital flexor (DDF) tenotomy and to identify factors affecting success of the surgical procedure.

Design

Retrospective study.

Animals

35 horses with laminitis treated by DDF tenotomy between 1988 and 1997.

Procedure

Information was obtained from individual medical records and follow-up telephone interviews with owners and referring veterinarians. Cumulative proportions of horses that survived 6 months and 2 years after tenotomy were determined. Effect of Obel grade of lameness on 6-month and 2-year survival and effect of distal phalangeal rotation on survival and future performance were evaluated by χ2 analysis. Body weights of horses that survived ≥ 2 years were compared with those of horses that survived < 2 years by ANOVA.

Results

27 of the 35 (77%) horses survived ≥ 6 months, and 19 of 32 (59%) survived > 2 years. Obel grade of lameness and body weight at time of surgery had no effect on 6-month or 2-year survival. Degree of distal phalangeal rotation had no effect on 2-year survival or the ability of horses to be used for light riding. Twenty-two of the 30 (73%) owners interviewed indicated they would have the procedure repeated on their horses given similar circumstances.

Clinical Implications

DDF tenotomy is a viable alternative for horses with laminitis refractory to conventional medical treatment. In some instances, the procedure may be effective in returning horses to light athletic use. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;214:517–519).

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