Carpometacarpal Osteoarthritis in Thirty-Three Horses

LUCA PANIZZI, DrMedVet, MVetSc 1 , SPENCER M. BARBER, DVM, Diplomate ACVS 1 , HAYLEY M. LANG 1 , and JAMES L. CARMALT, MA, VetMB, MVetSc, Diplomate ABVP & ACVS 1
998 - 1005
Veterinary Surgery
December 2009

Objective—To describe signalment, clinical, and radiographic changes associated with carpometacarpal osteoarthritis (CMC-OA) and to report long-term outcome.

Study Design—Case series.

Animals—Horses (n=33) with CMC-OA.

Methods—Medical records (1992–2007) of horses diagnosed with CMC-OA were reviewed and signalment, clinical, and radiographic findings retrieved. Owners were contacted for information on the impact of lameness on intended use, response to treatment, progression of lameness, outcome, and owner satisfaction with response to treatment.

Results—CMC-OA identified in 39 limbs, occurred predominantly in middle-aged and older Quarter Horses and Arabians, and caused severe lameness that prevented normal use. Characteristic swelling was centered over the 2nd metacarpal bone/2nd carpal bone articulation. Radiographic changes consisted of proliferative new bone, narrowed joint space, and subchondral lysis. Of 20 horses with follow-up, 7 of 14 treated horses were euthanatized within 4 years and 4 of 5 nontreated horses within 3 years. Response to treatment was short lived and considered very poor by most owners.

Conclusion—CMC-OA seemingly occurs primarily in Quarter Horses and Arabians in our region. Response to conservative treatment is very poor and short-lived with most horses being euthanatized.

Clinical Relevance—Conventional treatment methods are unsuccessful for treating CMC-OA.

Large animal: