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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1986 Aug 1;189(3):326-9.

Equine laminitis caused by distal displacement of the distal phalanx: 12 cases (1976-1985).


Clinical data from 12 cases of equine laminitis characterized by distal displacement of the distal phalanx (P3) were reviewed. Clinical features of horses that survived the syndrome were compared with the nonsurvivors to obtain prognostic indicators. Animals affected included 8 Quarter Horses, 2 Welsh ponies, 1 Thoroughbred, and 1 Arabian. Eight of the animals were females (67%), 2 were stallions, and 2 were geldings. The mean age of affected animals was 8.6 years (2 to 14 years), and the mean body weight was 442 kg. The survivors weighed less than the nonsurvivors (384 kg vs 473 kg, respectively), suggesting that body weight may be of prognostic value for horses affected with distal displacement of P3. Ten of the 12 animals (83%) were admitted because of a disorder other than laminitis, but subsequently developed laminitis during the treatment period. All affected animals had clinical evidence of endotoxemia and/or sepsis before the onset of laminitis. Cavitation or depression of the dorsal coronary band was detected in all animals and was the most reliable clinical indicator of distal displacement of P3. Five horses had fluid (blood or serum) ooze from their coronary bands and 2 of these sloughed one or more of their hooves. Necropsy findings of the 8 horses that were euthanatized included severe hemorrhagic, congested laminae and complete detachment of P3 from the hoof wall. Histologic examination of affected laminae revealed vascular thrombosis and multifocal areas of hemorrhage and necrosis. Radiography failed to reveal distal displacement of P3 in 8 animals, but the remaining 4 animals had an accentuation of the dorsal proximal hoof wall and cavitation of the coronary band visible on lateral radiographs.

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