Many veterinarians agree that 90% of equine lamenesses originate in the foot. But if it’s not in the foot, there are many other areas where lameness can hide. One area practitioners should examine if a horse is hind-limb lame is where the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) attaches to the hock, suggests Sue Dyson, MA, Vet MB, PhD, DEO, FRCVS, ...
When it comes to catastrophic injuries in racehorses, most people immediately think of severe limb fractures. But these athletes sometimes suffer life-threatening fractures beyond the limbs. Lumbar vertebral fractures, for instance, can occur in the loin area near where the rear of the saddle sits.
The big names are recognizable: Barbaro, Eight Belles, St Nicholas Abbey. But hundreds of other racehorses have suffered racing or training injuries that ultimately proved fatal, as well. And while everyone would like to see the number of catastrophic injuries that occur on racetracks reduced, finding ways to actually accomplish that is easier said than d...
When a horse suffers a musculoskeletal injury, the following events typically include a diagnosis, treatment, and return to soundness. To make a full athletic recovery, however, affected horses might benefit from specific forms of rehabilitation that restore function to the back's deep stabilizing muscles.
Tendon boots help protect horses’ front legs from injuries such as hoof strikes or collisions with jumps. Wraps protect this sensitive area during travel or flat work. But Austrian researchers have determined that boots and wraps have definite effects on skin and tendon temperature as well—and those effects are probably not without health cons...
When it comes to diagnosing a horse's lameness, the veterinarian's eyes are no longer the ultimate diagnostic machine. In fact, in one study (Keegan 2010) only 52% of participating veterinarians agreed on which of a horse's limbs was lame while assessing him visually.
Equine locomotion seems like a sophisticated thing. All those delicate bones, joints, tendons, and muscles must move in tandem to propel the horse's large body forward at varying speeds.
Horses can suffer musculoskeletal pain and injuries anywhere along the axial skeleton that comprises the skull, vertebral column, sternum, and ribs. Bringing these horses back to form post-injury can be difficult and time-consuming, but possible thanks to both time-tested mobilization exercises and cutting-edge physical therapy techniques.
Veterinarians and farriers apply a wide variety of horseshoes to treat the plethora of hoof problems that come our horses’ way, not to mention issues farther up the limb. Injuries to the suspensory ligament (a structure crucial to a horse's limb support system) are notoriously difficult to treat, so veterinarians recently tested a modern version...
A kiss is typically synonymous with romance and affection. But when it's your horse's spine that's doing the kissing, it's also synonymous with pain and poor performance. "Kissing spines" is traditionally treated surgically under general anesthesia, which carries its own risks, ranging from the dangers of recovery to death. But t...
Could something even smaller than a pea end a horse's athletic career? If that something is a cystic lesion in the stifle (or femoral condylar cyst), it's entirely possible. Fortunately, specific management approaches can help some horses return to their jobs in the arena or on the track with few, if any, lasting effects.
With six bones articulating in close range and multiple tendons and ligaments controlling extension and flexion, the hock, or the horse equivalent of the human ankle, has many moving and shock-absorbing parts. Add to those the animal’s weight and the fact the joint is almost always in flexion, and you’ve got a recipe for a perplexing number of...
When a racehorse breaks down on the track, you're not only faced with the devastating loss of a horse, but also economic loss and, potentially, an injured jockey. One of the most common sites of catastrophic injuries in Thoroughbred racehorses is the fetlock and its surrounding structures.
The training and racing of 2-year-old Thoroughbreds has always been a source of debate in the racing world due to concerns that exerting young skeletons might make horses more likely to injure themselves. But recent study results from Italian researchers suggest that at least one set of bones in Thoroughbreds might not impacted by training as juveniles: t...
Ever heard of the horse's third trochanter? It's a part of a bone, and guess what: It can break. While not common, third trochanter fractures can cause almost instant, severe hind limb lameness that can be difficult to diagnose. But the news isn't all bad: French researchers say these fractures probably won’t end a horse's athletic c...
Inflammatory conditions of the pastern will be appearing with increasing frequency during the summer season. But as a diagnosis, “pastern dermatitis” leaves much to be desired. When this alone is noted on a biopsy report, it leaves the clinician and client with little useful knowledge.
A horse’s head and neck position during radiographs might influence how veterinarians interpret the images when diagnosing spinous process impingements.
Get out your protractors: New research shows that the various angles of the outer and inner hoof are directly linked to various kinds of lameness, and knowing the angles could help determine which kind of lameness a horse has or is likely to get.
When owners think of potentially or ultimately fatal horse health conditions, colic, laminitis, or rabies are some common ailments that might come to mind. A less common eventually fatal condition is bone fragility syndrome (BFS). There's no known cause or cure, and researchers are just working to understand the debilitating disorder. Recently, a rese...
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