We compared the radiographic and scintigraphic findings in the third carpal bone of horses performing different work disciplines and investigated their relationship with lameness. Horses had undergone carpal radiography including acquisition of a dorsoproximal-dorsodistal oblique (DPr-DDiO) image of the distal row of carpal bones and/or scintigraphic examination of the carpi. Cause of lameness, breed, age, and work discipline were recorded. Increased opacity in the third carpal bone was graded, ratio of radiopharmaceutical uptake calculated objectively, and increased radiopharmaceutical uptake graded subjectively. Relationships between radiographic, scintigraphic, and clinical findings were assessed statistically. Increased opacity in the third carpal bone (P = 0.003) and ratio of radiopharmaceutical uptake (P = 0.015) were associated with the work discipline. Increased opacity in the third carpal bone was associated with both increased radiopharmaceutical uptake grade (P = 0.002; rs = 0.59) and ratio of radiopharmaceutical uptake (P = 0.013; rs = 0.46). Increased radiopharmaceutical uptake and increased opacity in the third carpal bone were not always observed concurrently. Lameness related to the middle carpal joint was associated with increased opacity (P < 0.001), ratio of radiopharmaceutical uptake (P = 0.037), and increased radiopharmaceutical uptake grade (P < 0.001). Radiographic and scintigraphic abnormalities were observed in horses performing all disciplines, indicating that high-speed exercise may not be the only factor determining the development of osseous disease in the third carpal bone. Both increased opacity and increased radiopharmaceutical uptake were more likely to be seen in horses with lameness related to the middle carpal joint than in horses with other sources of pain.
Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound