Power Doppler Gives Insight Into Tendon Healing Status

The body delivers blood to help tendons heal. Power Doppler can identify when blood is present in horses’ injuries that veterinarians might otherwise believe to have recovered.

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Power Doppler Gives Reliable Insight Into Tendon Healing Status
“Tendon injury is one of the high-rate reoccurring diseases in equine orthopedics,” said Lacitignola. “When you suspect a tendon injury, call your vet soon so that your horse can get the best diagnostic and therapeutic options.” | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse
Equine tendon injuries are bad news—not only because they take a long time to heal but also because they can become chronic if they’re not allowed to rest until fully healed.

Determining that a tendon has healed completely is a challenge, as is knowing when to initiate therapy (beyond rest). But as imaging technology improves, so do scientists’ opportunities to meet these challenges. According to Italian researchers, the “power Doppler” (which visualizes amplitude, or power, of Doppler signals, rather than frequency) provides highly sensitive “views” of the equine tendon healing process, with better results than those provided by less-advanced Doppler ultrasound technology.

“Power Doppler is a useful tool for clinicians to assess the severity of the injured tendon, establish if the lesion is acute or chronic, and help to choose the right time for any therapy (particularly for biological therapy like stem cell therapy and PRP),” or platelet-rich plasma, said Luca Lacitignola, DVM, PhD, an associate professor of veterinary radiology at the Universita degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro,” in Valenzano, Italy.

“It also permits them to monitor the healing process after therapy and consequently modulate the post-treatment training program as needed,” he said

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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