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Fractures of the palmar aspect of the carpal bones in horses: 10 cases (1984–2000)

Markus Wilke Dr med vet1, Alan J. Nixon BVSc, MS, DACVS2, John Malark DVM, DACVS3, and Grant Myhre DVM4
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 3 Edisto Equine Clinic, 7796 White Point Rd, Yonges Island, SC 29449.
  • | 4 Rochester Equine Veterinary Clinic, 10 Rod Rd, Rochester, NH 03867.

Abstract

Objective—To determine clinical and radiographic findings, treatment, and outcome of horses with fractures of the palmar aspect of the radial carpal bone, with or without concurrent fractures of the palmar surfaces of the other carpal bones.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—10 horses.

Procedure—Medical records were reviewed to obtain information on history, signalment, clinical and radiographic findings, treatment, and outcome. Follow-up information was gathered from owners and referring veterinarians.

Results—7 horses became lame after recovery from general anesthesia for treatment of an unrelated problem. The remaining 3 horses developed a forelimb lameness after falling (1 horse) or being turned out in a pasture (2 horses). Fractures involved the palmar surface of the radial carpal bone in all 10 horses; in addition, the ulnar carpal bone was affected in 2 horses, the intermediate carpal bone in 2 horses, and the distal aspect of the radius in 4 horses. None of the 4 horses treated nonsurgically returned to work, and 3 were euthanatized because of recalcitrant lameness. In the other 6 horses, fragments were removed surgically. Two were euthanatized because of continued lameness, 1 was euthanatized for other reasons, 2 were sound enough for light work, and 1 returned to athletic work.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that fractures of the palmar aspect of the carpal bones are uncommon in horses. The prognosis appears to be poor for affected horses but may be better for horses that undergo arthroscopic removal of intra-articular fragments. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:801–804)

Abstract

Objective—To determine clinical and radiographic findings, treatment, and outcome of horses with fractures of the palmar aspect of the radial carpal bone, with or without concurrent fractures of the palmar surfaces of the other carpal bones.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—10 horses.

Procedure—Medical records were reviewed to obtain information on history, signalment, clinical and radiographic findings, treatment, and outcome. Follow-up information was gathered from owners and referring veterinarians.

Results—7 horses became lame after recovery from general anesthesia for treatment of an unrelated problem. The remaining 3 horses developed a forelimb lameness after falling (1 horse) or being turned out in a pasture (2 horses). Fractures involved the palmar surface of the radial carpal bone in all 10 horses; in addition, the ulnar carpal bone was affected in 2 horses, the intermediate carpal bone in 2 horses, and the distal aspect of the radius in 4 horses. None of the 4 horses treated nonsurgically returned to work, and 3 were euthanatized because of recalcitrant lameness. In the other 6 horses, fragments were removed surgically. Two were euthanatized because of continued lameness, 1 was euthanatized for other reasons, 2 were sound enough for light work, and 1 returned to athletic work.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that fractures of the palmar aspect of the carpal bones are uncommon in horses. The prognosis appears to be poor for affected horses but may be better for horses that undergo arthroscopic removal of intra-articular fragments. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:801–804)