• horse;
  • ligament;
  • matrix;
  • collagen;
  • rupture


Partial rupture occurs most often to the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) of the forelimb at the mid-metacarpal level. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the mid-metacarpal region of the SDFT has the smallest cross sectional area (CSA) and a similar collagen content to other regions and, therefore, represents a weak point in the tendon. The SDFT was collected from the forelimbs of 9 horses. Each tendon was marked at 7 different levels from the origin of the accessory ligament to the phalangeal region. The CSA, water content and collagen content was measured at each level.

The mid-metacarpal level had a significantly smaller CSA than the most proximal and distal levels measured and a significantly higher dry matter content than proximal levels. However, the total amount of collagen present in the mid-metacarpal section was not significantly less than other regions except for the most distal sections. The results of this study suggest that the mid-metacarpal region of the SDFT, although smaller in CSA, is not significantly weaker than the proximal end and manica flexoria region of the tendon. Therefore, other factors such as hypoxia and/or hyperthermia may be responsible for site-specific tendon lesions in the SDFT.