Comparison of the Accuracy of Radiography and Ultrasonography for Detection of Articular Lesions in Horses


  • Presented in part at the American College of Veterinary Surgeons Symposium, San Diego, CA, October 2008.

Corresponding Author

Antje Hinz, Med Vet, Chino Valley Equine Hospital, 2945 English Place, Chino Hills, CA 91709




To compare the accuracy of ultrasonographic and radiographic examination for evaluation of articular lesions in horses.

Study Design

Cross-sectional study.


Horses (n = 137) with articular lesions.


Radiographic and ultrasonographic examinations of the affected joint(s) were performed before diagnostic or therapeutic arthroscopic surgery. Findings were recorded and compared to lesions identified during arthroscopy.


In 254 joints, 432 lesions were identified by arthroscopy. The overall accuracy was 82.9% for ultrasonography and 62.2% for radiography (P < .0001) with a sensitivity of 91.4% for ultrasonography and 66.7% for radiography (P < .0001). The difference in specificity was not statistically significant (P = .2628). The negative predictive value for ultrasonography was 31.5% and 13.2% for radiography (P = .0022), the difference for the positive predictive value was not statistically significant (P = .3898). The accuracy for ultrasonography and radiography for left versus right joints was equal and corresponded with the overall results.


Ultrasonographic evaluation of articular lesions was more accurate than radiographic evaluation.