DISTAL BORDER FRAGMENTS OF THE EQUINE NAVICULAR BONE: ASSOCIATION BETWEEN MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING CHARACTERISTICS AND CLINICAL LAMENESS

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Abstract

Distal border fragments of the navicular bone are increasingly being detected due to the improved capabilities of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but their clinical significance remains unclear. The purpose of this retrospective study was to describe the location, size, and frequency of fragments in a cohort of horses presented for MRI of the foot and to compare MRI findings with severity of lameness. Archived MRI studies and medical records were searched from March 2006 to June 2008. Horses were included if a distal border fragment of the navicular bone was visible in MRI scans. Confidence interval comparisons and linear regression analyses were used to test hypotheses that fragments were associated with lameness and lameness severity was positively correlated with fragment volume and biaxial location. A total of 453 horses (874 limbs) were included. Fragments were identified in 60 horses (13.25%) and 90 limbs (10.3%). Fifty percent of the horses had unilateral fragments and 50% had bilateral fragments. Fragments were located at the lateral (62.2%), medial (8.89%), or medial and lateral (28.9%) angles of the distal border of the navicular bone. There was no increased probability of being categorized as lame if a fragment was present. There was no significant difference in fragment volume across lameness severity categorizations. Confidence intervals indicated a slightly increased probability of being classified as lame if both medial and lateral fragments were present. Findings indicated that distal border fragments of the navicular bone in equine MRI studies are unlikely to be related to existing lameness.

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