Science & Equine

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Written by Marly Coppens

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Feasibility for ultrasound-guided injections in horses

Desmitis of the collateral ligament is a cause of lameness in equine athletes. A study found that this condition can be present in up to 31% of horses associated with foot pain. In this study, ultrasound guidance was useful to confirm injection of the collateral ligament of the distal interphalangeal (coffin) joint but did not prevent injecting the joint and the common digital extensor tendon.

Injections with cell-based therapies thought to improve healing in tendons and ligaments, ultrasound imaging can be used to guide local infiltration. In this study the ligament was visualized in a transverse orientation in 76 horses’ cadaver limbs and the needle was introduced proximal to the probe. The collateral ligament was injected at any point in 97.4% of cases.  

Similarly to X-ray or MRI-guided injection, ultrasound-guided technique commonly resulted in injections of surrounding structures including the distal interphalangeal joint and the common digital extensor tendon. This should be taken into consideration before using the technique for treatment of desmitis of the collateral ligaments. 

> From: Lewis et al., Vet Radiol Ultrasound,  pp 1–7, 2016. All rights reserved to 2016 American College of Veterinary Radiology. Click here for the Pubmed summary

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