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How Pastern Bone Chip Removal Impacts Performance

Arthroscopic pastern bone chip removal in horses had no significant impact on Thoroughbreds’ racing performance, researchers found.

Veterinarians regularly remove osteochondral fragments—essentially, cartilage-covered bone chips—from certain horse joints, including fetlocks and hocks, using relatively straightforward arthroscopic procedures. Less frequently they encounter bone chips in the pastern joint, said Christine Moyer, DVM, MS, an equine veterinarian in Cave Creek, Arizona. Consequently, there’s less research data available on Pastern Bone Chip removal and patient recovery.

At the 2018 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 1-5 in San Francisco, California, Moyer presented results from a study in which she and colleagues described pastern osteochondral fragment removal and evaluated how well Thoroughbred racehorses performed following this surgery.

The team pulled the records of 56 horses that had pastern joint chips removed arthroscopically at a single veterinary hospital by one of four surgeons over a 15-year period; of those, 39 were Thoroughbreds (aged 4 months to 4 years). Then, they collected race data for the Thoroughbreds and 169 of their maternal siblings—age-matched controls in this study—to compare performance.

Moyer said surgeons performed all the procedures with the horse in lateral recumbency (lying on his side) and postoperative rehab regimens included two weeks of stall rest and three to four weeks of hand-walking.

Moyer said the team found that:

Fragments were in the hind limb in 90.3% of cases, and the forelimb in 9.7% of cases;
The fragments measured an average of 9.7 mm, ranging from 3 to 28 mm;
In 63% of cases, horses suffered avulsion fractures (which occur when a tendon or ligament pulls off a piece of bone);

Three horses developed surgical complications—one case of synovial sepsis (the horse recovered and went on to race), one case of progressive arthritis (the horse remained lame, underwent surgical arthrodesis to fuse the joint, and did not race), and one had a second pastern bone chip removed from the opposite limb (the first at 4 months and the second at 13 months of age; this horse did not race, Moyer said);

Among the Thoroughbreds, neither the case nor control horses were significantly more likely to race (69% and 76% of the Thoroughbreds had at least one start, respectively); and
There were no significant differences in case and control horses’ number of starts, total earnings, or earnings per start in their 2-year-old seasons, 3-year-old seasons, or across their careers.

Moyer said the researchers suspect these horses sustained the fractures due to trauma. And, they believe the degree of arthritis the horse has at diagnosis could be related to the prognosis—the more severe the joint damage, the less favorable the outcome.

As for the nonracing breeds, Moyer said, fragments were similar to those found in Thoroughbreds—most were found in young horses at the dorsomedial (front inside) aspect of the hind pastern joint.

She said the research team was pleased with their findings: “One of the reasons we are excited about this project is because there are so few cases that had been previously reported (in the scientific literature). Among three reports, arthroscopic removal had only been reported in a total of seven horses.

“In our population we found fragments in a whopping 56 horses,” she added. “We have objective performance data in 39 horses because they were Thoroughbreds. So this greatly improves our level of understanding on how we should expect horses to perform as athletes after undergoing surgery for this condition.”

Resource Blog: https://bit.ly/2McQ9rS

Author: deepa

Deepa is a writer and a passionate blogger. She has years of experience in writing articles, blogs and press releases after a deep research. At http://healthcaretipstoday.com she writes interesting topics on all health, beauty, fitness and healthy life. She loves exploring, researching and providing the best information to readers. In her free times, she loves to read books.

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deepa

Deepa is a writer and a passionate blogger. She has years of experience in writing articles, blogs and press releases after a deep research. At http://healthcaretipstoday.com she writes interesting topics on all health, beauty, fitness and healthy life. She loves exploring, researching and providing the best information to readers. In her free times, she loves to read books.

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