Gold SJ, Werpy NM, Gutierrez-Nibeyro SD.
Sagittal groove injuries of the proximal phalanx are an important cause of lameness in performance horses. The purpose of this retrospective case series study was to describe standing low-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) characteristics of these injuries in a group of Warmblood horses. Horses with an MRI diagnosis of sagittal groove injuries involving the proximal phalanx and that had follow-up MRI and clinical outcome information were included. Findings from clinical examinations, diagnostic tests, and other imaging modalities were recorded. All MRI studies were retrieved for re-evaluation by an experienced, board-certified veterinary radiologist. A total of 19 horses met inclusion criteria. All horses had MRI lesions consistent with unilateral or bilateral sagittal groove injuries of the proximal phalanx and abnormal mineralization of the sagittal ridge of the third metacarpal/metatarsal bone. Fifteen horses (79%) had concurrent osteoarthritis of the affected metacarpophalangeal/metatarsophalangeal joint. Eighteen horses received conservative therapy and all horses still had osseous abnormalities detected at the time of follow-up MRI. Thirteen horses (68.5%) were still lame at the time of follow-up, whereas the other six horses (31.5%) had become sound and returned to the previous level of exercise. Findings indicated that, for mature Warmblood horses, acute or chronic injuries of the sagittal groove of the proximal phalanx may have variable standing low-field MRI characteristics. Based on this sample of 19 horses, findings also indicated that the prognosis for performance soundness in horses diagnosed with sagittal groove injury of the proximal phalanx and concurrent osteoarthritis is poor.