Removal of large fragments of the extensor process of the distal phalanx via arthrotomy in horses: 14 cases (1992–1998)

Julie E. Dechant Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Gayle W. Trotter Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Ted S. Stashak Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Dean A. Hendrickson Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the outcome of horses with large fragments of the extensor process of the distal phalanx that were removed by use of arthrotomy.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—14 horses with large fragments of the extensor process of the distal phalanx.

Procedure—Medical records for horses with large fragments of the extensor process that were removed by use of arthrotomy were reviewed. Data retrieved from medical records included signalment, use of horse, affected limb, lameness history, lameness examination findings, radiographic findings, surgical technique, and outcome. Follow-up evaluation was obtained by telephone interview.

Results—Most affected horses were < 5 years old and had a history of chronic lameness. Lameness grade ranged from 1/5 to 4/5. Fragments involved 20 to 45% of the dorsopalmar articular surface of the distal phalanx. Eight of 14 horses had a successful outcome. Outcome was not associated with age, duration or severity of lameness, or fragment size.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Despite involvement of a large portion of the articular surface and use of arthrotomy, joint instability and permanent soft tissue injury was not a problem in most horses. Outcome may be improved by selection of horses with lameness of < 2 years' duration and careful management after surgery. A fair prognosis may be anticipated for removal of large fragments of the extensor process via arthrotomy. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000; 217:1351–1355)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the outcome of horses with large fragments of the extensor process of the distal phalanx that were removed by use of arthrotomy.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—14 horses with large fragments of the extensor process of the distal phalanx.

Procedure—Medical records for horses with large fragments of the extensor process that were removed by use of arthrotomy were reviewed. Data retrieved from medical records included signalment, use of horse, affected limb, lameness history, lameness examination findings, radiographic findings, surgical technique, and outcome. Follow-up evaluation was obtained by telephone interview.

Results—Most affected horses were < 5 years old and had a history of chronic lameness. Lameness grade ranged from 1/5 to 4/5. Fragments involved 20 to 45% of the dorsopalmar articular surface of the distal phalanx. Eight of 14 horses had a successful outcome. Outcome was not associated with age, duration or severity of lameness, or fragment size.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Despite involvement of a large portion of the articular surface and use of arthrotomy, joint instability and permanent soft tissue injury was not a problem in most horses. Outcome may be improved by selection of horses with lameness of < 2 years' duration and careful management after surgery. A fair prognosis may be anticipated for removal of large fragments of the extensor process via arthrotomy. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000; 217:1351–1355)

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