Objective Conventional imaging modalities can diagnose the source of foot pain in most cases, but have limitations in some horses, which can be overcome by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, there are no reports of the MRI appearance and prevalence of foot lesions of a large series of horses with chronic foot lameness.
Methods In the present study, 79 horses with unilateral or bilateral forelimb lameness because of chronic foot pain underwent standing low-field MRI to make a definitive diagnosis.
Results Of the 79 horses, 74 (94%) had alterations in >1 structure in the lame or lamest foot. Navicular bone lesions occurred most frequently (78%) followed by navicular bursitis (57%), deep digital flexor tendonopathies (54%) and collateral desmopathy of the distal interphalangeal joint (39%). Effusion of the distal interphalangeal joint was also a frequent finding (53%).
Conclusion Low-field MRI in a standing patient can detect many lesions of the equine foot associated with chronic lameness without the need for general anaesthesia.