Long-Term Outcome after Arthroscopic Debridement of Distal Phalanx Extensor Process Fragmentation in 13 Horses

Authors

  • OLIVER M. CROWE BVSc Cert ES (Orth),

    1. Willesley Equine Clinic, Willesley, Gloucestershire, UK
    2. Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, UK
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  • RICHARD J. HEPBURN BVSc Cert EM Diplomate ACVIM,

    1. Willesley Equine Clinic, Willesley, Gloucestershire, UK
    2. Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, UK
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  • SVEND E. KOLD DVM PhD,

    1. Willesley Equine Clinic, Willesley, Gloucestershire, UK
    2. Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, UK
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  • ROGER K. SMITH MA Vet MB PhD DEO Diplomate ECVS

    1. Willesley Equine Clinic, Willesley, Gloucestershire, UK
    2. Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, UK
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Corresponding author: Oliver Crowe BVSc Cert ES (Orth), B and Willesley Equine Group Ltd, Willesley, Gloucestershire, GL8 8QU, UK. E-mail: ollie@equine-vet-willesley.co.uk.

Abstract

Objective— To report long-term outcome after arthroscopic removal of fragmentation of the extensor process of the distal phalanx in horses.

Study Design— Case series.

Animals— Adult horses (n=13).

Methods— Medical records (2003–2004) of horses that had arthroscopic debridement of fragmentation of the extensor process of the distal phalanx were reviewed. Inclusion criteria included: lameness localized to the foot, fragmentation of the extensor process of the distal phalanx debrided arthroscopically, and a follow-up period of ≥4 years.

Results— Of the 13 horses, lameness was resolved in 11 (85%) initially but distal interphalangeal joint pain recurred in 2 (15%) within 1 year of surgery. Three (23%) other horses were retired because of lameness at other sites during the follow-up period resulting in 46% (6/13) being not lame and in full work after 4 years. Substantial changes were identified at surgery in the contralateral joint of 7 horses, even when fragments were only present unilaterally.

Conclusions— Arthroscopic debridement of fragmentation of the extensor process of the forelimb distal phalanx has a good short-term prognosis for resolution of lameness and return to work but a more guarded prognosis for long-term soundness.

Clinical Relevance— These results allow for more accurate prognostication preoperatively and may support early debridement of fragmentation of the extensor process of the distal phalanx.

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