MRI Vs. X-Rays: Which One is More Accurate for Measuring Horse Hooves?

Veterinarians at the Royal Veterinary College in the United Kingdom used magnetic resonance images (MRI) to obtain measurements of dorsopalmar and mediolateral hoof shape of 100 horses and compared these measurements with those obtained of the same hooves using conventional X-rays.

The measurements included angles and lengths of structures of the external hoof wall, as well as internal structures of the hoof and pastern.

While correlated, measurements obtained with the two imaging modalities were significantly different. Measurements relying on landmarks of the external hoof wall were particularly challenging from MRI due in part to low resolution attributed to the lower water content of the structures of interest. The correlation of hoof angles measured using both techniques was moderate to high with the exception of pastern joint angles, which only showed moderate agreement between MRI and X-ray measurements.

The authors concluded that caution should be used when using measurements obtained by MRI for precise hoof trimming guidance and traditional X-rays may provide better information for this purpose.

— Bolt DM et al. JEVS 2022;112:103894

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Albert Kane

Albert J. Kane, DVM, MPVM, Ph.D.

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