ULTRASONOGRAPHIC FINDINGS IN THE LUMBOSACRAL JOINT OF 43 HORSES WITH NO CLINICAL SIGNS OF BACK PAIN OR HINDLIMB LAMENESS

Authors


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Annamaria Nagy, at the above address. E-mail: annamaria.nagy@aht.org.uk

Abstract

The transrectal ultrasonographic appearance of the lumbosacral joint was assessed in 43 horses with no history or clinical evidence of back pain or hindlimb lameness. In the majority of horses (34/43, 79.1%) the lumbosacral disc had uniform or mildly heterogeneous echogenicity. However, variation in the ultrasonographic appearance of the lumbosacral joint was also identified, including hyperechogenic regions within the lumbosacral disc with or without an acoustic shadow, and mild or moderate irregularity of the opposing surfaces of the last lumbar and the first sacral vertebral bodies. Marked irregularity of the bony surfaces or marked disruption of the lumbosacral disc was not seen in any horse. The mean distance between the ventral aspects of the last lumbar and first sacral vertebrae was 14.2 mm (range: 7.1–26.5 mm, median: 14.4 mm). The degree of protrusion of the ventral aspect of the lumbosacral disc ranged from 0 to 5 mm (mean: 1.32 mm, median: 1.2 mm). The mean angle between the ventral surfaces of the last lumbar and first sacral vertebrae was 147° (range: 118–165°, median: 150°). There was no significant effect of age, breed, gender, or the size of the horses on either subjective findings in the lumbosacral joint or objective measurements.

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