Do Radiographs Change as Weanlings Grow to Yearlings?

Many of the abnormalities researchers evaluated in weanling X rays improve by the time the horse was a yearling.
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Horses’ bodies grow and change almost constantly throughout their lives. Of course, these changes are most apparent as foals grow rapidly into weanlings, yearlings, young horses, and then mature animals.

At Thoroughbred sales, weanlings with radiographic abnormalities evident on their repository images can bring lower sales prices due to a perceived decrease in racing potential. But, because these young horses still have a lot of growing to do, will those abnormalities remain as the weanlings grow into yearlings?

“Little research has been conducted to see how Thoroughbred radiographic abnormalities evolve from weanling to yearling age,” said Kathryn Atwood, DVM, an associate at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky.

To gain a better understanding of this evolution, Atwood and colleagues carried out a study that followed radiographs from 722 Thoroughbreds from weanling to yearling age. She presented the results of the study at the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 3-7 in Orlando, Florida

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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