A Pain In The Neck Isn’t Necessarily Equine Osteoarthritis

A new study from the Ontario Veterinary College has found that X-rays alone do not provide sufficient evidence for diagnosing Cervical Facet disease, a form of osteoarthritis.

Dr. Judith Koenig notes that osteoarthritis is common in many athletes, especially as they age. Bone spurs may develop and cause the facets to grow larger, and inflammation around the facet joints can affect nerve roots and soft tissue. Overuse or neck instability can also cause the joint to remodel.

Clinical signs of osteoarthritis in the neck include stiff neck with a limited range of motion and atrophy in the lower neck. Some horses with osteoarthritis of the neck may show front-end lameness that does not respond to leg nerve blocks.

Prior studies had shown that X-rays indicated osteoarthritic changes of the neck in nearly 50 percent of horses that were between 6 and 8 years old who had no other clinical signs of osteoarthritis. This finding caused many horses to fail pre-purchase exams. Koenig created a study to explore the significance of these changes that seem to affect so many horses.

Koenig’s study showed that there are differing opinions among veterinarians on how to classify the stage of osteoarthritis the X-rays show. Koenig noted that this was a reason why veterinarians should not rely solely on information the X-rays provide, but should take the X-rays in context with other clinical signs.

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The post A Pain In The Neck Isn’t Necessarily Equine Osteoarthritis appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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