Ultrasonography of the equine shoulder: technique and normal appearance

Tnibar MA, Auer JA, Bakkali S.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 1999;40:44-57.

This study was intended to document normal ultrasonographic appearance of the equine shoulder and anatomic landmarks useful in clinical imaging. Both forelimbs of five equine cadavers and both forelimbs of six live adult horses were used. To facilitate understanding of the images, a zoning system assigned to the biceps brachii and to the infraspinatus tendon was developed. Ultrasonography was performed with a real-time B-mode semiportable sector scanner using 7.5- and 5-MHz transducers. On one cadaver limb, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed using a system at 1.5 Tesla, T1-weighted spin-echo sequence. Ultrasonography images were compared to frozen specimens and MRI images to correlate the ultrasonographic findings to the gross anatomy of the shoulder. Ultrasonography allowed easy evaluation of the biceps brachii and the infraspinatus tendon and their bursae, the supraspinatus muscle and tendons, the superficial muscles of the shoulder, and the underlying humerus and scapula. Only the lateral and, partially, the caudal aspects of the humeral head could be visualized with ultrasound. Ultrasonographic appearance, orientation, and anatomic relationships of these structures are described. Ultrasonographic findings correlated well with MRI images and with gross anatomy in the cadavers’ limbs.