A recent study lead by John Peloso, DVM, of the Equine Medical Center in Ocala, Florida, along with three other collaborators, associated catastrophic condylar fracture (CCF) with bony changes in the forelimbs of Thoroughbred racehorses when identified through the use of standing magnetic resonance Imaging (sMRI).
According to Peloso, CCF poses a significant problem for Thoroughbred racehorses worldwide. He said the objective of the study was to determine if standing MRI could be used to identify bone changes (Volume of Dense Bone—VDB and Bone Marrow Edema—BME) in the unaffected limb of racehorses with condylar fracture (cases) when compared to horses without CCF (controls).
The study was a retrospective case series where forelimbs from 26 cases (with CCF) and 88 controls (without CCF) were imaged. Logistic regression was used to compare the affected and unaffected limbs of racehorses with CCF and the affected limbs of case horses with randomly selected limbs of control horses.
The research found that there was no significant difference in VDB between the affected and unaffected limbs of cases. However, VDB was significantly greater in cases than controls for both the lateral and medial condyles. When looking at BME, among CCF cases, affected limbs were significantly more likely to have bone marrow edema than affected limbs and cases were more likely to have BME than control.
Standing MRI identified a greater degree of both increased VDB and presence of BME in racehorses with condylar fracture when compared with either the unaffected limb or control horses. Since identification of BME in the standing horse can only be performed using MRI, this technology may have an important role in identification of racehorses at risk of condylar fracture.
The study was presented at the British Equine Veterinary Association Congress in the United Kingdom and was selected as the winner of the Sam Hignett Award for Clinical Research. The actual study can be accessed on the BEVA website or by clicking here.
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