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Retrospective case-control and cross-sectional studies were conducted in Italy to describe the clinical findings and outcomes of horses with interference injuries to the palmar aspect of the distal front limbs, and to identify factors associated with the injuries. The records of 74 horses were compared with uninjured matched controls from the same race. Also the outcomes of horses with superficial digital flexor (SDF) tendonitis (bowed tendons) due to interference were compared with those of 77 horses with SDF tendonitis due to overstrain injury.
Most (90%) of the injuries occurred during racing as opposed to training, and about 90% of the horses had SDF tendonitis. Typically horses with SDF tendonitis returned to racing after about 6 months compared with 1 month for horses with less serious interference injuries. Gait penalties (for horses breaking stride) were associated with increased likelihood of sustaining an interference injury. Being unshod behind was also associated with a higher likelihood of injury, but it isn’t clear whether the horses might have been left barefoot because they already had a history of minor interference injuries or were thought to be at higher risk of interference to begin with. Finally, horses with SDF tendonitis due to interference returned to racing more quickly (within 8 months on average) compared with those with the same condition due to an overstrain injury (11 months).
— Dabbene I et al. EVJ 2018;50:759-765
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