Equine Temporohyoid Osteoarthropathy Studied

Researchers looked at common signs, diagnostics, and treatments for equine temporohyoid osteoarthropathy.

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Although scientists still don’t know what causes a relatively rare equine neurologic disorder, a research team in England recently took steps to further characterize the most common presenting signs, diagnostic methods, and treatment options associated with equine temporohyoid osteoarthropathy.

Temporohyoid osteoarthropathy (THO) is a disorder of the hyoid apparatus (voice box) and associated structures. The hyoid apparatus and larynx are suspended from the skull via the temporohyoid joint (THJ), which is located in the temporal region of the horse’s head (between the larynx and the base of the ear). Essentially, THO is a bony growth of the tympanic bulla, proximal stylohyoid, and petrous temporal bones. The result is fusion of the temporohyoid joint and, in some cases, fracture of the small bones that make up the hyoid apparatus. The cause of the disorder is unknown.

To better characterize affected horses presenting signs, management, and outcomes, Viktor Palus, DVM, MRCVS, ECVN, of Dick White Referrals Veterinary Specialist Centre in Suffolk, England, recently completed a retrospective review of THO cases in England.

Palus and colleagues examined the medical records of horses presented to two English referral clinics from 2005 to 2011. Horses were included in the study if a thickened stylophoid bone was identified on endoscopic examination and they had received a THO diagnosis; seven horses met the criteria. Four mares, two geldings, and one colt, aged one to 18 years, were included in the study

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Written by:

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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