Qualitative assessment of bone density at the distal articulating surface of the third metacarpal in Thoroughbred racehorses with and without condylar fracture

Loughridge, A.B., Hess, A.M., Parkin, T.D. and Kawcak, C.E. (2017) Qualitative assessment of bone density at the distal articulating surface of the third metacarpal in Thoroughbred racehorses with and without condylar fracture. Equine Veterinary Journal, 49(2), pp. 172-177. (doi:10.1111/evj.12544) (PMID:26638772)

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Abstract

Reasons for performing study: Changes in subchondral bone density, induced by the repetitive cyclical loading of exercise, may potentiate fatigue damage and the risk of fracture. Objectives: To use computed tomography (CT) to characterise bone density patterns at the articular surface of the third metacarpal bone in racehorses with and without lateral condylar fractures. Study Design: Case control Methods: Computed tomographic images of the distal articulating surface of the third metacarpal bone were obtained from Thoroughbred racehorses subjected to euthanasia in the UK. Third metacarpal bones were divided into 3 groups based on lateral condyle status; fractured (FX, n = 42), nonfractured contralateral condyle (NFX, n = 42) and control condyles from horses subjected to euthanasia for reasons unrelated to the third metacarpal bone (control, n = 94). Colour CT images were generated whereby each colour represented a range of pixel values and thus a relative range of bone density. A density value was calculated qualitatively by estimating the percentage of each colour within a specific region. Subchondral bone density was assessed in 6 regions from dorsal to palmar and 1 mm medial and lateral to the centre of the lateral parasagittal groove in NFX and control condyles and 1 mm medial and lateral to the fracture in FX condyles. Results: Bone density was significantly higher in the FX and NFX condyles compared with control condyles for all 6 regions. A significantly higher bone density was observed in FX condyles relative to NFX condyles in the lateral middle and lateral palmar regions. Fractured condyles had increased heterogeneity in density among the 6 regions of interest compared with control and NFX condyles. Conclusions: Adjacent to the fracture, a focal increase in bone density and increased heterogeneity of density were characteristic of limbs with lateral condylar fractures compared with control and NFX condyles. These differences may represent pathological changes in bone density that increase the risk for lateral condylar fractures in racehorses.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Source of funding: Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation, Colorado Racing Commissionand Colorado State University Veterinary Summer Scholar Programme.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Parkin, Professor Timothy
Authors: Loughridge, A.B., Hess, A.M., Parkin, T.D., and Kawcak, C.E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Equine Veterinary Journal
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0425-1644
ISSN (Online):2042-3306
Published Online:05 February 2016

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