MRI features of metacarpo(tarso)phalangeal region lameness in 40 horses

Gonzalez LM, Schramme MC, Robertson ID, et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2010;51:404-414.

Lameness originating from the metacarpo(tarso)phalangeal (MP) joint has a significant effect on the use and athletic competitiveness of a horse. The identification of the cause of lameness originating from the MP joint can be challenging, given the limitations of radiography, ultrasonography, and nuclear scintigraphy. Our purpose was to describe the injury types and incidence in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies from 40 horses with lameness attributable to the MP joint region where it was not possible to reach a clinically plausible diagnosis using other imaging modalities. Horses were examined in a 1.5 T magnet (Siemens Medical Solutions) under general anesthesia. The frequency of occurrence of MR lesions was subchondral bone injury (19), straight or oblique distal sesamoidean desmitis (13), articular cartilage injury and osteoarthritis (eight), suspensory branch desmitis (seven), osteochondral fragmentation (seven), proximal sesamoid bone injury (seven), inter-sesamoidean desmitis (four), deep digital flexor tendonitis (four), collateral desmitis (three), superficial digital flexor tendonitis (two), enostosis-like lesions of the proximal phalanx or MCIII (two), desmitis of the palmar annular ligament (one), desmitis of the proximal digital annular ligament (one), and dystrophic calcification of the lateral digital extensor tendon (one). Twenty-five horses had multiple MR abnormalities. MRI provided information that was complementary to radiography, ultrasonography, and nuclear scintigraphy and that allowed for a comprehensive evaluation of all structures in the MP joint region and a diagnosis in all 40 horses.