Osseous spinal pathology and epaxial muscle ultrasonography in Thoroughbred racehorses

Stubbs, N. C., Riggs, C. M., Hodges, P. W., Jeffcott, L. B., Hodgson, D. R., Clayton, H. M. and McGowan, C. M. (2010) Osseous spinal pathology and epaxial muscle ultrasonography in Thoroughbred racehorses. Equine Veterinary Journal, 42 s38: 654-661. doi:10.1111/j.2042-3306.2010.00258.x

Author Stubbs, N. C.
Riggs, C. M.
Hodges, P. W.
Jeffcott, L. B.
Hodgson, D. R.
Clayton, H. M.
McGowan, C. M.
Title Osseous spinal pathology and epaxial muscle ultrasonography in Thoroughbred racehorses
Journal name Equine Veterinary Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0425-1644
Publication date 2010-11-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2010.00258.x
Volume 42
Issue s38
Start page 654
End page 661
Total pages 8
Editor P. D. Rossdale
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Reasons for performing study: The multifidus muscle plays a key role in spinal stabilisation. Multifidus atrophy ipsilateral to the side of osseous pathology has been demonstrated in man and pigs but has not been investigated in horses.

Objectives: To measure cross-sectional area (CSA) left/ right symmetry of equine multifidus ultrasonographically and relate asymmetry of multifidus with osseous spinal pathology in Thoroughbred racehorses. We hypothesised that ipsilateral multifidus CSA would be reduced when osseous pathological changes are present leading to left/right asymmetry in CSA.

Materials and methods: Twenty-two racehorses presented for euthanasia for primary reasons other than back pain were examined clinically. Ultrasonographic images on left/right sides were acquired at 5 thoracolumbosacral levels and CSA's of multifidus or sacrocaudalis dorsalis calculated. At necropsy, osseous pathological of the TL spine and pelvis were recorded by spinal level, anatomical site, and graded (0-3) according to severity. The mean typical measurement error in estimating multifidus/sacrocaudalis dorsalis CSA was used to determine the significance of left/right asymmetries. An association between multifidus CSA asymmetry and asymmetrical grading of pathological lesions was sought using Pearson's χ2 analysis.

Results: All horses had significant left/right asymmetry of multifidus CSA at >2 spinal levels, most commonly at L5 with total of 74 sites affected (22 horses). Seventeen horses had severe (grade 3) pathology, 16 of these had ipsilateral atrophy of multifidus/sacrocaudalis dorsalis. There was a significant association between pathological grade and degree of multifidus asymmetry.

Conclusions: Severe osseous pathological changes were common in this population of Thoroughbred racehorses and were associated with measurable left/right asymmetry in multifidus at or close to the level of pathology.

Potential relevance: Ultrasonography of multifidus may be a useful clinical tool in diagnosis of back problems in horses. © 2010 EVJ Ltd.
Keyword Atrophy
Spinal muscles
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Special Issue: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
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School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 25 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 05 Dec 2010, 10:13:17 EST