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The X-ray isn’t quite gone yet but, advanced imaging techniques are being applied to the equine foot every day. A group of researchers compared the ability of computed tomography (CT), contrast-enhanced CT (CECT), and low-field magnetic resonance imaging (LFMRI) to identify anatomical detail in the hooves of 22 lame, mostly warmblood horses in a clinical setting. MRI was done on standing patients. Horses were anesthetized for the CT scans. The clarity and ability to clearly visualize anatomical structures was scored by two radiologists and two surgeons who compared image types.
CT and LFMRI had similar visualization scores for several structures including the navicular bone, P2, collateral ligaments of the coffin joint, collateral sesamoidean ligaments and part of the deep digital flexor tendon. LFMRI had lower scores for P1 and P3 and higher scores for synovial structures. The only simple take-home message is that one imaging technique isn’t necessarily better than another for every structure in the foot. Similarly, some equipment and some specifications perform better than others.
The authors advise imaging the pastern as well as the foot with lameness blocks to that region and not relying solely on CT for advanced imaging of the distal hoof in particular.
— Vallance SA et al. EVJ 2012;44:51-56.
A survey of geriatric horses in the United Kingdom was followed up with veterinary visits for 200 horses over 15 years of age. The study was designed to estimate the frequency of health problems…