Venogram Patterns Vary, So Assess Them Carefully

Taking multiple radiographic views–both weight-bearing and not–allows vets to assess the findings most accurately.

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Veterinarians often use a venogram—a radiograph or X ray taken of a horse’s foot after contrast media has been injected into its blood vessels—to how well blood is flowing within a laminitic horse’s foot. In most cases, the better the blood flow, the better chance of a good recovery. The poorer the perfusion, the more likely complications are to develop.

The challenge, however, is that assessing venograms is subjective, said Britta Leise, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, an assistant professor at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. What one veterinarian might see as poor perfusion another might see as a normal variation, or vice versa. So, Leise and colleagues conducted a study in which they evaluated venograms in nonlaminitic horses and described normal vs. abnormal variations. She presented the study at the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Convention, held Dec. 3-7 in Orlando, Florida.

The researchers conducted subjective and objective lameness exams on 23 performance horses. Then, they performed venograms (which included six views in a specific order: early lateral; horizontal dorsopalmar (DP); unweighted lateral; unweighted horizontal DP; 65° proximodorsal-distopalmar; and late lateral) on each horse’s front hooves (the venogram of one hoof was excluded from the study, leaving a total of 45 for the team to analyze). The team also took radiographs to evaluate horses’ bone and hoof angles, palmar angles, and sole depth and compare those measures to the venograms

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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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