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Equine Vet J. 2012 Mar;44(2):185-95. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2011.00432.x. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

Prevalence of radiographic changes in yearling and 2-year-old Quarter Horses intended for cutting.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, Equine Orthopaedic Research Center Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Colorado, USA.



There have been many studies that document radiographic findings in young Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses. No such studies have been performed in Quarter Horses.


To describe the prevalence of radiographic changes in the stifles, tarsi, carpi and fetlocks of young Quarter Horses intended for cutting.


Radiographs of yearling and 2-year-old Quarter Horses were obtained from a radiograph repository and a private farm. The carpi, tarsi, fetlocks and stifles were evaluated and radiographic changes categorised by type and location. The frequency of changes was calculated and comparisons were made between the 2 age groups.


Of 458 included horses, 408 (89.1%) had radiographic changes, most of which were in the tarsi (304, 69.4%) followed by the stifles (202, 44.5%), hind fetlocks (155 of 355, 43.7%), fore fetlocks (131 of 361, 36.3%) and carpi (27 of 342, 7.9%). Of the horses with stifle changes, 188 (93.1%) were in the medial femoral condyle (MFC). There was a significant difference between the age groups for changes on the distal intermediate ridge of the tibia (DIRT), hindlimb middle phalanx (P2) osteophytes and proximal tibial osteophytes.


There is a high prevalence of radiographic changes in presale survey radiographs, especially in the stifles and tarsi, of young Quarter Horses intended for cutting.


Veterinarians examining presale radiographs at cutting horse sales should expect a high prevalence of radiographic changes in this population of horses. Work to determine the clinical relevance of these radiographic changes is currently ongoing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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