Science & Equine

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Written by Marly Coppens

Image by: Fredie Coppens

Ultrasound diagnosis in spontaneous injury of the AL-SDFT

Spontaneous injury of the AL-SDFT (accessory ligament of the superficial digital flexor
tendon/proximal check ligament) may occur in performance horses. This study showed
ultrasonography as an adequate diagnostic technique for this lesion and indicates that
desmopathy (degenerative histological changes) of the AL-SDFT should be suspected in equine
athletes presenting a carpal canal syndrome and a proximal SDFT tendinopathy.

This study examined the carpal canal of lame horses represented with carpal canal syndrome
and/or proximal superficial digital flexor tendonitis based on clinical/radio-graphical findings
for four years. Ultrasound findings were compared to transverse and longitudinal scans of
seven adult horses without history of lameness.

Abnormal AL-SDFT findings were found in 45 horses. They included thickening, hypoechoic
areas and fiber pattern alteration. Most injuries were seen in performance horses, only four in
pleasure horses.

Musculoskeletal ultrasound is a very useful diagnostic device for evaluation of tendons,
muscles, nerves and joints in the equine athlete. Do you make use of it already?

> J. Denoix et al, Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, Volume 16, Number 5, 1996 Click here for the J-EVS summary

Youtube instructional video ultrasound scanning of the proximal metacarpus:

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