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Parameters influencing prevalence and outcome of tendonitis in Thoroughbred and Arabian racehorses

Kalisiak, O.
Polish journal of veterinary sciences 2012 v.15 no.1 pp. 111-118
Thoroughbred, females, forelimbs, ligaments, males, prognosis, racehorses, risk, tendinitis
Flexor tendonitis and suspensory desmitis are among most prevalent musculoskeletal injuries observed in racehorses. The aim of this study was to determine which horse and race-related parameters can help to diminish the possibility of injury or - when injury has occurred - to evaluate the potential for the horse to continue a successful career after convalescence. Special attention was given to the comparison of Arabian and Thoroughbred racehorses.187 horses with ultrasonographically visible lesions were included in the study. Following parameters were analyzed: structure (Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon [SDFT], Deep Digital Flexor Tendon [DDFT], Suspensory Ligament [SL]); percentage of cross sectional area increase; hypoechogenic lesion character; in horses with SDF tendonitis - tendonitis grade according to Genovese.This study showed that Thoroughbreds are more at risk of musculoskeletal problems than Arabian racehorses. In both breeds, the most frequent injuries concern SDFT, then SL. Over 95% of tendonitis concern forelimbs. In Thoroughbreds, the prevalence of tendonitis is higher in bigger horses, in males when compared to females and in fence / steeple racehorses when compared to flat track racehorses. The inside limb is more at risk of SDF tendonitis, when the external limb - of SL desmitis. Tendonitis severity increases with age and is greater in steeplechasers when compared to flat track racehorses. The outcome of tendonitis without hypoechogenic lesion is much better than that with hypoechogenic lesion. Evaluation of hypoechogenic lesion length is an easy and accurate prognosis tool, as the chances of returning to racing drop dramatically with lesions longer than 12 cm.