• collateral ligaments;
  • desmopathy;
  • distal interphalangeal joint;
  • equine;
  • long-term outcome;
  • low-field magnetic resonance imaging

We report the use of a low-field magnetic resonance (MR) imaging system for the detection of desmopathy of the collateral ligament of the distal interphalangeal joint and the long-term outcome. Twenty horses were studied and their medical records and MR images were reviewed retrospectively. Long-term follow-up information was obtained by telephonic questionnaires of owners, trainers, or referring veterinarians. Desmopathy of the medial collateral ligament (80%) and enthesopathy of the affected collateral ligament (80%) were common MR imaging features. Treatment consisted of stall rest followed by a rehabilitation period. Additional treatments included shoeing, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, application of a half limb or foot cast, and medication of the distal interphalangeal joint. Twelve (60%) horses returned to their previous level of exercise and maintained their previous level, whereas eight horses had a poor outcome. Low-field MR imaging in the standing patient can be used to detect collateral ligament desmopathy of the distal interphalangeal joint without a need for general anesthesia.