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Equine Vet J. 1998 Sep;30(5):374-81.

Stress fractures of the vertebral lamina and pelvis in Thoroughbred racehorses.

Author information

1
Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.

Abstract

Thirty-six Thoroughbred racehorses that died at California racetracks between October 1993 and July 1994 were evaluated for stress fractures in the caudal portion of the thoracic and lumbosacral regions of the spine and the pelvis. The lumbosacral spine and pelvis were collected, debrided of soft tissues and examined visually for the presence of an incomplete fracture line and focal periosteal proliferation, characteristic of a stress fracture. Sixty-one per cent of specimens had evidence of stress fracture in the caudal portion of the thoracic and lumbosacral regions of the spine and the pelvis. Vertebral lamina stress fractures were found in 50% of specimens and were positively associated with the severity of dorsal spinous process impingement and overall severity of articular process degenerative changes. Pelvic stress fractures affected 28 % of specimens and occurred more frequently in older horses. Pelvic stress fractures were positively associated with the severity of lumbar transverse process impingement and several ilial articular surface degenerative changes. A high prevalence of vertebral and pelvic stress fractures was noted in this sample of Thoroughbred racehorses that died because of unrelated injuries. Vertebral and pelvic stress fractures need to be considered in the clinical evaluation of horses with back problems or hindlimb lameness. Undiagnosed stress fractures of the vertebrae or pelvis could be a significant cause of poor performance and lameness in Thoroughbred racehorses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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