• horse;
  • cervical vertebrae;
  • lameness;
  • neck


Eight horses had forelimb lameness which was considered unrelated to primary forelimb pain, but was associated with radiographic abnormalities of one or more cervical vertebrae. There was no evidence of ataxia or weakness. The degree and character of the forelimb lameness varied between horses. In 4 horses, selective local analgesic techniques were used to rule out lameness associated with pain in the forelimb. In the other 4 horses, radiographic examination of the cervical region was performed on the basis of forelimb lameness seen in conjunction with neck stiffness and/or neck pain. Three horses had marked modelling of the synovial articular facet joints in the caudal cervical region; a 4th horse had modelling and a fracture involving the synovial articulation between the 4th and 5th cervical vertebrae. One horse had abnormalities of the intercentral articulation between the 7th cervical and 1st thoracic vertebrae and a discrete mineralised opacity dorsal to it. Two horses had large lucent zones in a vertebral body. One horse had a fracture of the body of the 7th cervical vertebra. Five horses were humanely destroyed, 2 returned to their previous level of activity after a prolonged period of rest and 1 was still being rested at the time of writing.