Catastrophic scapular fractures in Californian racehorses: Pathology, morphometry and bone density

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Reasons for performing study: To enhance understanding of the nature and pathogenesis of scapular fractures in racehorses. Hypothesis: Scapular fractures in racehorses have a consistent configuration related to sites of pre-existing stress modelling and remodelling. Methods: Fractured and intact scapulae collected post mortem were examined visually and with computed tomography (CT). Scapular fracture configuration, bone modelling changes and standardised CT morphometry and density measurements were recorded. Statistical comparisons were made between fractured, nonfractured contralateral and control scapulae. Results: Thirty-nine scapulae from 10 Thoroughbred (TB) and 10 Quarter Horse (QH) racehorses were obtained. All 14 fractured scapulae (from 12 horses) had a consistent comminuted fracture configuration. A complete fracture coursed transversely through the neck of the scapula at the level of the distal aspect of the spine (8.9 ± 0.9cm proximal to the lateral articular margin of the glenoid cavity). The distal fragment of 13 fractured scapulae was split into 2 major fragments by a fracture in the frontal plane that entered the glenoid cavity (2.8 ± 0.4cm caudal to the cranial articular margin). Focal areas of periosteal proliferation and/or radiolucency were present in the distal aspect of the scapular spine of all fractured and intact contralateral scapulae, but less commonly (P<0.01) in intact scapula from horses without a scapular fracture. Fractured scapulae had 7-10% lower mean density and 46-104% greater density heterogeneity in the spine adjacent to the transverse fracture compared to control scapulae (P<0.03). Conclusions and clinical relevance: Thoroughbred and QH racehorses have a characteristic scapular fracture configuration that is associated with pre-existing pathology of the distal aspect of the spine. This location is consistent with scapular stress fractures diagnosed in lame TB racehorses. Catastrophic fracture is the acute manifestation of a more chronic process. Consequently, there are opportunities for early detection and prevention of fatalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)676-685
Number of pages10
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Volume43
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011

Fingerprint

scapula
Scapula
racehorses
bone density
morphometry
Bone Density
Pathology
spine (bones)
Horses
Glenoid Cavity
Spine
Quarter Horse
computed tomography
Joints
Tomography
stress fractures
Comminuted Fractures
horses
Stress Fractures
Bone Fractures

Keywords

  • Bone density
  • Computed tomography
  • Horse
  • Pathology
  • Scapula
  • Stress fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine

Cite this

Catastrophic scapular fractures in Californian racehorses : Pathology, morphometry and bone density. / Vallance, S. A.; Spriet, Mathieu; Stover, Susan M.

In: Equine Veterinary Journal, Vol. 43, No. 6, 11.2011, p. 676-685.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Reasons for performing study: To enhance understanding of the nature and pathogenesis of scapular fractures in racehorses. Hypothesis: Scapular fractures in racehorses have a consistent configuration related to sites of pre-existing stress modelling and remodelling. Methods: Fractured and intact scapulae collected post mortem were examined visually and with computed tomography (CT). Scapular fracture configuration, bone modelling changes and standardised CT morphometry and density measurements were recorded. Statistical comparisons were made between fractured, nonfractured contralateral and control scapulae. Results: Thirty-nine scapulae from 10 Thoroughbred (TB) and 10 Quarter Horse (QH) racehorses were obtained. All 14 fractured scapulae (from 12 horses) had a consistent comminuted fracture configuration. A complete fracture coursed transversely through the neck of the scapula at the level of the distal aspect of the spine (8.9 ± 0.9cm proximal to the lateral articular margin of the glenoid cavity). The distal fragment of 13 fractured scapulae was split into 2 major fragments by a fracture in the frontal plane that entered the glenoid cavity (2.8 ± 0.4cm caudal to the cranial articular margin). Focal areas of periosteal proliferation and/or radiolucency were present in the distal aspect of the scapular spine of all fractured and intact contralateral scapulae, but less commonly (P<0.01) in intact scapula from horses without a scapular fracture. Fractured scapulae had 7-10{\%} lower mean density and 46-104{\%} greater density heterogeneity in the spine adjacent to the transverse fracture compared to control scapulae (P<0.03). Conclusions and clinical relevance: Thoroughbred and QH racehorses have a characteristic scapular fracture configuration that is associated with pre-existing pathology of the distal aspect of the spine. This location is consistent with scapular stress fractures diagnosed in lame TB racehorses. Catastrophic fracture is the acute manifestation of a more chronic process. Consequently, there are opportunities for early detection and prevention of fatalities.",
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N2 - Reasons for performing study: To enhance understanding of the nature and pathogenesis of scapular fractures in racehorses. Hypothesis: Scapular fractures in racehorses have a consistent configuration related to sites of pre-existing stress modelling and remodelling. Methods: Fractured and intact scapulae collected post mortem were examined visually and with computed tomography (CT). Scapular fracture configuration, bone modelling changes and standardised CT morphometry and density measurements were recorded. Statistical comparisons were made between fractured, nonfractured contralateral and control scapulae. Results: Thirty-nine scapulae from 10 Thoroughbred (TB) and 10 Quarter Horse (QH) racehorses were obtained. All 14 fractured scapulae (from 12 horses) had a consistent comminuted fracture configuration. A complete fracture coursed transversely through the neck of the scapula at the level of the distal aspect of the spine (8.9 ± 0.9cm proximal to the lateral articular margin of the glenoid cavity). The distal fragment of 13 fractured scapulae was split into 2 major fragments by a fracture in the frontal plane that entered the glenoid cavity (2.8 ± 0.4cm caudal to the cranial articular margin). Focal areas of periosteal proliferation and/or radiolucency were present in the distal aspect of the scapular spine of all fractured and intact contralateral scapulae, but less commonly (P<0.01) in intact scapula from horses without a scapular fracture. Fractured scapulae had 7-10% lower mean density and 46-104% greater density heterogeneity in the spine adjacent to the transverse fracture compared to control scapulae (P<0.03). Conclusions and clinical relevance: Thoroughbred and QH racehorses have a characteristic scapular fracture configuration that is associated with pre-existing pathology of the distal aspect of the spine. This location is consistent with scapular stress fractures diagnosed in lame TB racehorses. Catastrophic fracture is the acute manifestation of a more chronic process. Consequently, there are opportunities for early detection and prevention of fatalities.

AB - Reasons for performing study: To enhance understanding of the nature and pathogenesis of scapular fractures in racehorses. Hypothesis: Scapular fractures in racehorses have a consistent configuration related to sites of pre-existing stress modelling and remodelling. Methods: Fractured and intact scapulae collected post mortem were examined visually and with computed tomography (CT). Scapular fracture configuration, bone modelling changes and standardised CT morphometry and density measurements were recorded. Statistical comparisons were made between fractured, nonfractured contralateral and control scapulae. Results: Thirty-nine scapulae from 10 Thoroughbred (TB) and 10 Quarter Horse (QH) racehorses were obtained. All 14 fractured scapulae (from 12 horses) had a consistent comminuted fracture configuration. A complete fracture coursed transversely through the neck of the scapula at the level of the distal aspect of the spine (8.9 ± 0.9cm proximal to the lateral articular margin of the glenoid cavity). The distal fragment of 13 fractured scapulae was split into 2 major fragments by a fracture in the frontal plane that entered the glenoid cavity (2.8 ± 0.4cm caudal to the cranial articular margin). Focal areas of periosteal proliferation and/or radiolucency were present in the distal aspect of the scapular spine of all fractured and intact contralateral scapulae, but less commonly (P<0.01) in intact scapula from horses without a scapular fracture. Fractured scapulae had 7-10% lower mean density and 46-104% greater density heterogeneity in the spine adjacent to the transverse fracture compared to control scapulae (P<0.03). Conclusions and clinical relevance: Thoroughbred and QH racehorses have a characteristic scapular fracture configuration that is associated with pre-existing pathology of the distal aspect of the spine. This location is consistent with scapular stress fractures diagnosed in lame TB racehorses. Catastrophic fracture is the acute manifestation of a more chronic process. Consequently, there are opportunities for early detection and prevention of fatalities.

KW - Bone density

KW - Computed tomography

KW - Horse

KW - Pathology

KW - Scapula

KW - Stress fracture

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