Relative echogenicity of tendons and ligaments of the palmar metacarpal region in foals from birth to 4 months of age: a longitudinal study

Spinella G, Britti D, Loprete G, Musella V, Romagnoli N, Vilar JM, Valentini S. PLoS One. 2016 Jul 21; 11 (7):e0159953.

The objective of this study was to evaluate relative echogenicity of superficial and deep digital flexor tendons, the accessory ligament of the deep digital flexor tendon and interosseous muscle of the metacarpal region in foals ages 1 week to 4 months; and assess the association between echogenicity and sex or side/laterality.

Seven Standardbred trotter foals were examined. Right and left metacarpal regions (palmar surface) were ultrasonographically investigated, and four regions of interest were assessed.

A significant increase in echogenicity was seen in superficial and deep digital flexor tendons, accessory ligament of deep digital flexor tendon, and interosseous muscle during growth from 1 week to 4 months of age. Echogenicity of examined tendons and ligaments was not influenced by gender nor laterality.

Reference values for tendon and ligament echogenicity could function as a tool to discriminate between physiological and abnormal conditions such as congenital contractural conditions.