Objective—To determine clinical, radiographic, and scintigraphic abnormalities in and outcome of horses with septic or nonseptic osteitis of the axial border of the proximal sesamoid bones.
Procedure—Data collected from medical records included signalment; history; horse use; severity and duration of lameness; results of perineural anesthesia, radiography, ultrasonography, and scintigraphy; and outcome following surgery.
Results—Five horses did not have any evidence of sepsis; the other 3 had sepsis of the metacarpophalangeal or metatarsophalangeal joint or the digital synovial sheath. All horses had a history of chronic unilateral lameness. Three of 5 horses improved after diagnostic anesthesia of the metacarpophalangeal or metatarsophalangeal joint; the other 2 improved only after diagnostic anesthesia of the digital synovial sheath. Nuclear scintigraphy was beneficial in localizing the source of the lameness to the proximal sesamoid bones in 4 horses. Arthroscopy of the palmar or plantar pouch of the joint or of the digital synovial sheath revealed intersesamoidean ligament damage and osteomalacia of the axial border of the proximal sesamoid bones in all horses. All 5 horses without sepsis and 1 horse with sepsis returned to their previous uses.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that osteitis of the axial border of the proximal sesamoid bones is a distinct entity in horses that typically is associated with inflammation of the associated metacarpointersesamoidean or metatarsointersesamoidean ligament and may be a result of sepsis or nonseptic inflammation. Arthroscopic debridement may allow horses without evidence of sepsis to return to their previous level of performance. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:82–86)