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Racing performance of horses with proximal phalanx fragments

J. L. Carmalt, H. Borg, H. Naslund, C. Waldner

OSTEOCHONDRAL fragmentation of the plantar/palmar aspect of the proximal phalanx (POF) is relatively common among horses, with an estimated prevalence of 23 to 29 per cent. Fragments are typically located in the medial aspect of the left hindlimb and are usually treated by arthroscopic removal. Before a horse is purchased, radiographs of the metacarpophalangeal joints are often taken to detect POF, and horses with POF can be operated on before sale or as a condition of sale. It has been suggested, however, that POF is an incidental finding that does not impact on race speed or cause lameness. This study aimed to determine whether horses with POF according to radiographs had different race speeds to those without; and whether horses that had had surgery to remove POF had comparable racing speeds and racing careers to horses without POF.

The medical records of horses presented to an equine referral practice in Sweden over 10 years were examined. All horses that had POFs removed arthroscopically were deemed to be cases, while all horses that had limb radiography indicating that they did not have POF …

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