b'SPORTS MEDICINE ERICA LARSONTheHorse.com/Sports-MedicineSidelined4 injuries to watch for in Western performance horsesW estern performance horses are a diverse group of equine athletes trained for a variety of disciplines with unique physical demands. The Western performance horse is such a vast, encompassing topic, says Vern Dryden, DVM, CJF, who owns Bur Oak Veterinary & Podiatry Services, in Lexington, Kentucky, and breeds and shows reining horses.One thing they have in commonfrom roping horses to reiners, gymkhana speedsters to cow-cutters, and everything betweenhowever, is theyre all at risk of injury as a result of the stresses their work places on them.Western performance horses are unique in the rapid acceleration and hard, loaded turns seen in tie-down C. MACDONALD COURTESY DR. CHRIS BELLroping, team roping, and barrel racing, says Chris Bell, BSc, DVM, MVetSc, Dipl. ACVS, who owns Elders Equine Veterinary Service, in Winnipeg, Mani-toba, Canada, and has a special interestWestern performance horses accelerate in equine surgery and sports medicine.rapidly and make hard, loaded turns in Horses in the stock horse eventssuchdisciplines such as roping and barrel racing.as reining, penning, and working cow horsemust make rapid pivoting turns, abrupt stops, and rapid accelerations.runs from above the knee or hock, downfetlock along the back of the pastern. These horses are often working offthe back of the leg, and around the fet- Both tendons can also sustain tears as their powerful back ends and exertinglock, attaching to the bottom of the coffinthey run through the tight channel at the larger torques in their limbs compared tobone within the hoof. Our sources sayback of the fetlock between the sesamoid English-discipline horses. injuries to these structures are commonbones. This will result in marked swelling/Here, well take a look at four of thein Western performance horses. effusion (fluid buildup) of the flexor most common issues Bell and DrydenWhen problems arise above hooftendon sheath.see in this population, how they diagnoselevelthink the classic bowed tendon Tendon injuries within the hoof might them, and what treatments and reha- horses become lame suddenly. The ten- be less obvious visually, but horses gener-bilitation methods they use to get horsesdon swells, sometimes immediately andally still become lame.back to business. other times over 12 to 24 hours, Bell says.How theyre diagnosedBell says prac-These horses are painful to palpation. titioners conduct a lameness exam and Flexor Tendon Injuries The SDFT tends to tear in the loweruse ultrasound to diagnose DDFT injuries The superficial digital flexor tendonthird of the tendon and just above theabove the hoof. If horses are at a clinic, (SDFT) runs down the back of the horsesfetlock at the back of the cannon bone,MRI and tenoscopy (inserting a fiber-leg from just above the knee or hock tohe says. The DDFT tends to tear in theoptic camera beneath the skin to explore the pastern. The deep digital flexor ten- upper two-thirds of the tendon at thethe tendon in the anesthetized horse) can don (DDFT), located beneath the SDFT,back of the cannon bone, or below thealso be useful diagnostic tools. 36August 2019The Horse | TheHorse.com'