Pattern Of Bone Injury In The Jumping Horse

Nuclear scintigraphy is a technique used to identify areas of increased bone material turnover. This remodeling of bone can occur in response to growth, fracture, increased loading due to exercise, infection, cancer or arthritis. Scintigraphy has become a valuable tool in the location and identification of bone injuries in horses.The technique of nuclear scintigraphy has been used in a recent study to investigate the pattern of bone remodeling in horses which compete in show jumping, hunting and eventing (P.J. Ehrlich, H.J. Seeherman, MW O'Callaghan, IR. Dohoo and M Brimacombe Results of Bone Scintigraphy in Horses Used For Show Jumping, Hunting Or Eventing: 141 Cases (1988-1994), JAVMA 1998 Vol. 213, No. 10).

The researchers studied the records of horses that had undergone bone scintigraphy at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine between 1988 and 1994. The primary athletic activity of these horses was showjumping, hunting or eventing. All horses included in the study had been examined due to lameness and the researchers associated the areas of bone remodeling with lameness only if it was confirmed as the site by the physical examination. An important finding from this study was that these horses showed a distinct pattern of bone remodeling compared to horses undertaking other athletic pursuits such as racing. For instance, remodeling of the third carpal bone of the knee and proximal sesamoid bones of the fetlock in response to training and racing has been studied and presumed to be the cause of increased radiopharmaceutical uptake "hot spots" in these areas. In the present study it was found that jumping creates stresses that cause remodeling of the pastern.

Results of this study indicates that jumping creates unique musculoskeletal stresses that and that the areas of stress are identifiable. Therefore, jumping horses may have a predilection to develop orthopaedic disease at sites distinct from those in racehorses. Knowledge of this distinct pattern may be useful to veterinary practitioners to localize and identify sources of musculoskeletal pain in the jumping horse.

—Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

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