Hind-Limb Collateral Ligament Injuries Examined

Study results indicate affected horses have a guarded prognosis to return to athletic soundness.
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Severe hind-limb lameness in horses has many possible causes, including collateral ligament desmitis of the hock.

To better understand the effects of this injury, researchers at Oklahoma’s Oakridge Equine Hospital and Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine completed a study that traced 12 horses presenting with synovitis (inflammation of the synovial lining inside the joint) in the hock and evidence of collateral ligament desmitis on ultrasound over an eight-year period.

Collateral ligament desmitis (inflammation of the collateral ligament, which is located on either side of most joints) often develops as a result of a ligament sprain or strain. The collateral ligament in the hock runs adjacent to the hock’s joint capsule, providing connectivity and stability to the joint. Damage to the structure can occur due to tearing of the joint capsule, cartilage damage to the joint, or bone chips.

Lead researcher Lauren Lamb, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, of Texas A&M, and his team reported that each horse in this study presented with swelling around the hock, accompanied by severe lameness, and was hospitalized for an average of six-and-a-half days. Eight of the 12 horses underwent arthroscopic surgery to flush the joint and remove injured tissue, torn cartilage, or bone fragments

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Written by:

Natalie Voss is a freelance writer and editor based in Kentucky. She received her bachelor’s degree in equine science from the University of Kentucky and has worked in public relations for equine businesses and organizations. She spends her spare time riding her Draft cross, Jitterbug.

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