Relationship between intervertebral joint morphology and mobility in the equine thoracolumbar spine

Authors

  • H. G. G. TOWNSEND,

    1. Department of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N OWO, Canada
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  • D. H. LEACH

    1. Department of Veterinary Anatomy, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N OWO, Canada
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Summary

The anatomical features of 21 equine thoracolumbar spines, obtained from horses with clinically normal backs, were examined and the results compared with recent data on the mobility of the joint complexes of the horse's spine. The thoracolumbar spine can be divided into four regions based upon the morphology of the joint complexes: the first thoracic intervertebral joint (T1-2), the cranial and mid thoracic region (T2-T16), the caudal thoracic and lumbar region (T16-L6) and the lumbosacral joint. The mobility of the intervertebral joints in each of these regions can be related to their morphology, particularly the shape, size and orientation of the articular facets and the presence and frequent fusion of the lateral joints of the lumbar spine. The shape and thickness of the intervertebral discs also appear to be of importance.

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