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Autologous bone marrow aspirate for treatment of superficial digital flexor tendonitis in 105 racehorses
  1. J. W. Russell, BVMS MANZCVS,
  2. T. M. Russell, BVMS, Dip. ECVS,
  3. J. R. Vasey, B.V.Sc. (Hons), F.A.C.V.Sc. and
  4. M. S. Hall, BVSc. (Hons), Dip. ECVS
  1. Victorian Equine Group, Bendigo Equine Hospital, Victoria, Australia
  1. E-mail for correspondence: thehorsevet{at}


To evaluate a treatment protocol whereby superficial digital flexor (SDF) tendonitis in Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses was treated with autologous bone marrow aspirate (ABMA) obtained from the sternebrae. This treatment was combined with desmotomy of the accessory ligament of the SDF tendon (DAL-SDFT) in selected cases. Medical records of 105 horses treated using the reported protocol were reviewed. Signalment, history and details of treatment were recorded. Racing records were reviewed and performance recorded. Of Thoroughbreds, 82 per cent had one or more starts within the follow-up period and 59 per cent had five or more starts. Of Standardbreds, 76 per cent had one or more starts and 62 per cent had five or more starts. A statistically significant difference was found when comparing race starts between sexes, with females having less starts than males (≥1start P=0.017 and ≥5 starts P=0.008, respectively). The proportions of horses having one or more starts and five or more starts did not differ significantly if a DAL-SDFT was performed or not (P=0.31 and 0.63, respectively). Horses with a core lesion in the body of the SDFT have a good prognosis for return to racing following intralesional ABMA injection. Addition of DAL-SDFT to the treatment regimen did not significantly influence outcome.

  • equine
  • tendonitis
  • autologous bome marrow aspirate
  • Desmotomy of the accessory ligament of the superficial digital flexor tendon
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