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Keywords:

  • accessory ligament of the deep digital flexor tendon;
  • horse;
  • lameness;
  • magnetic resonance imaging;
  • proximal suspensory ligament

Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging abnormalities in horses with lameness localized to the proximal metacarpal or metatarsal region have not been described. To accomplish that, the medical records of 45 horses evaluated with MR imaging that had lameness localized to either the proximal metacarpal or metatarsal region were reviewed. Abnormalities observed in the proximal suspensory ligament or the accessory ligament of the deep digital flexor tendon included abnormal high signal, enlargement, or alteration in shape. Twenty-three horses had proximal suspensory ligament desmitis (13 hindlimb, 10 forelimb). Sixteen horses had desmitis of the accessory ligament of the deep digital flexor tendon. One horse had desmitis of the proximal suspensory ligament and the accessory ligament of the deep digital flexor tendon on the same limb and one horse had desmitis of the proximal suspensory ligament on one forelimb and desmitis of the accessory ligament of the deep digital flexor tendon on the other forelimb. Four horses did not have abnormalities in the proximal suspensory ligament or accessory ligament of the deep digital flexor tendon. Eighty percent of horses with forelimb proximal suspensory ligament desmitis and 69% of horses with hindlimb proximal suspensory ligament desmitis returned to their intended use. Sixty-three percent of horses with desmitis of the accessory ligament of the deep digital flexor tendon were able to return to their intended use. MR imaging is a valuable diagnostic modality that allows diagnosis of injury in horses with lameness localized to the proximal metacarpal and metatarsal regions. The ability to accurately diagnose the source of lameness is important in selecting treatment that will maximize the chance to return to performance.