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Radiographic anatomy of juvenile bovine limbs
  1. S. E. Hoey, MVB DACVR1,
  2. A. H. Biedrzycki, BVSc PhD DACVS3,
  3. M. J. Livesey, BVMS MS DACVS2 and
  4. R. Drees, Dr med vet, DACVR4
  1. 1Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging, University College Dublin, School of Veterinary Medicine, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Department of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA
  3. 3Department of Large Animal Clinical Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
  4. 4Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: seamus.hoey{at}


Juvenile bovine patients who present with clinical signs of lameness are commonly evaluated using radiographic techniques both within a hospital setting and in a farm environment. The radiographic development of the juvenile bovine skeleton is currently poorly documented. In this study, the limbs of four heifer calves were sequentially radiographed to assess development of the juvenile bovine appendicular skeleton in the first 12 months of life. Images were acquired at three weeks, three months, six months, nine months and one year of age. The normal radiographic anatomy of the fore limbs and hindlimbs and the changes over the first 12 months are described. The majority of physes remain open throughout this period, with the exception of the proximal physes of the proximal and middle phalanges, the proximal radial physis, and the proximal humeral physis which close radiographically between 9 months and 12 months of age, and fusion of the fourth and central tarsal bones occurs between 9 months and 12 months of age. The results of this study may aid in differentiating normal and abnormal anatomy in the juvenile bovine limb.

  • Cattle
  • Radiography
  • Skeletal development
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