A retrospective evaluation of the surgical management of equine carpal injury

Sharanne Raidal, J D Wright

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Records of 220 thoroughbred horses presented to the Randwick Equine Centre or the University of Queensland Veterinary Teaching Hospital for surgical management of carpal injury were reviewed. Details of racing performance were obtained, enabling evaluation of racing success following surgery. Age and sex matched control horses not known to have suffered carpal injury were selected from the Australian Stud Book and the Australian Racehorse Register. Control and treated populations were compared in terms of overall career racing success. Radiographs or xeroradiographs from 198 horses were available for evaluation. The dorsomedial aspects of the distal articular surface of the radial carpal bone and the proximal articular surface of the third carpal bone were the most commonly observed locations of osteochondral fracture. Bilateral carpal injury was found to be sufficiently common to warrant routine radiographic examination of both limbs. The dorsolareral-palmaromedial oblique, flexed lateral and dorsoproximal-dorsodistal oblique (skyline) projections were the most useful views for evaluation of carpal degenerative joint disease. Surgical removal of osteochondral fractures by arthrotomy or arthroscopy was found to be a suitable method of treatment. Arthroscopy was associated with a significantly shorter convalescent period than arthrotomy. Seventy-six percent of the treated population returned to racing following surgery. Average earnings following surgery were $20,000. However, the median value was only $1400 and 48% of the treated population failed to earn more than $1000. Male horses in both the treated and control groups performed significantly better than females. Treated horses performed significantly better than the randomly selected control population.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA retrospective evaluation of the surgical management of equine carpal injury
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1996


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