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Keywords:

  • digital artery;
  • Doppler indices;
  • Doppler sonography;
  • horses;
  • laminitis;
  • septic pododermatitis

The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of Doppler ultrasonography to monitor vascular blood flow dynamics in defined diseases of the equine digit in a noninvasive way. Doppler sonography was used to evaluate medial digital artery blood flow in eight horses with septic pododermatitis and four horses with laminitis in comparison with 10 horses of a control group. Doppler sonographic measurement and lameness examinations were performed in lame horses before treatment (day 0) and at 3, 6, and 9 days following treatment. Before treatment, blood flow velocities, arterial diameter, and flow volume were significantly higher in the lame horses, while pulsatility indices (PIs) were significantly lower (P<0.05). Compared with the control group, there was no significant difference of resistive indices (RI) in the septic pododermatitis group, but these indices were significantly lower in the laminitis group. No significant difference between the two lame groups was recorded. After treatment, blood flow velocities and flow volume decreased significantly and PIs increased significantly in both lame groups, while RI and arterial diameter did not change. No correlation between Doppler parameters and the degree of lameness was found. Doppler sonography can be used to monitor vascular blood flow dynamics in horses suffering from septic pododermatitis and laminitis, while blood flow velocities and PI can serve as parameters for monitoring the course of the disease.