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Magnetic Resonance Imaging Findings in the Proximal Metacarpal Region of 359 Horses and Proximal Metatarsal Region of 64 Horses Acquired Under Standing Sedation

Rachel C. Murray, Carolyne A. Tranquille, Vicki A. Walker, Rebecca C. Milmine, Lars Bak, Jack B. Tacey, Nick M. Bolas
Journal of equine veterinary science 2020 v.94 pp. 103268
hindlimbs, lameness, ligaments, magnetism, metacarpus, retrospective studies, sedation, sports, veterinary medicine
Standing magnetic resonance (MR) images of proximal metacarpal/metatarsal regions are increasingly being acquired. This study aimed at describing ranges of abnormalities detected in sport/racehorses, using retrospective evaluation of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reports from horses with lameness isolated to proximal metacarpal/metatarsal regions with images acquired standing. It was hypothesized that MRI features are different between metacarpal and metatarsal regions and between horses doing different sports. Reports from 359 forelimbs and 64 hindlimbs were included. Palmar/plantar metacarpal/metatarsal bone injury and suspensory desmopathy, which often occurred concurrently, were most frequently reported. Third metacarpal abnormalities were more likely at palmar/medial locations, including cortical (86.4%) and trabecular (38.2%) pathology with frequent thickening, irregularity, and periosteal/endosteal abnormalities. Fluid signal was reported in cortical (38.7%) and trabecular (22.6%) bone. Medial intermetacarpal articulation abnormalities were more frequently reported (52.5%) than lateral. Suspensory ligament pathology was reported in 83.8% forelimbs, frequently with cortical (74.1%) or trabecular (32.9%) pathology. Tarsal-joint abnormalities were significantly more likely than carpal-joint abnormalities. Third metatarsal cortical (57.8%) and trabecular (20.3%) pathology was most frequently plantar, but significantly more likely to be dorsal than forelimbs. Metatarsal fluid signal was significantly less likely than metacarpal. Lateral intermetatarsal articulation pathology (23.4%) was more frequent than medial; medial was significantly more likely in forelimbs. Suspensory ligament abnormalities were reported in 64.1% hindlimbs, 39.1% having concurrent cortical pathology. Metacarpal fluid signal was significantly more likely in endurance/racehorses than dressage/show jumping horses. Dressage was overrepresented in hindlimb suspensory origin pathology. These findings indicate different pathology patterns between forelimb/hindlimb and between different sports and may be useful for MRI interpretation.