Comparison of cross-sectional anatomy and computed tomography of the tarsus in horses

Authors: 
Els V. Raes, DVM; Eric H. J. Bergman, DVM; Henk van der Veen, DVM; Katrien Vanderperren, DVM, PhD; Elke Van der Vekens, DVM; Jimmy H. Saunders, DVM, PhD
Volume: 
72
Number: 
9
Pages: 
1209-1221
Journal: 
American Journal of Veterinary Research
Date: 
September 2011

Objective—To compare computed tomography (CT) images of equine tarsi with cross-sectional anatomic slices and evaluate the potential of CT for imaging pathological tarsal changes in horses.

Sample—6 anatomically normal equine cadaveric hind limbs and 4 tarsi with pathological changes.

Procedures—Precontrast CT was performed on 3 equine tarsi; sagittal and dorsal reconstructions were made. In all limbs, postcontrast CT was performed after intra-articular contrast medium injection of the tarsocrural, centrodistal, and tarsometatarsal joints. Images were matched with corresponding anatomic slices. Four tarsi with pathological changes underwent CT examination.

Results—The tibia, talus, calcaneus, and central, fused first and second, third, and fourth tarsal bones were clearly visualized as well as the long digital extensor, superficial digital flexor, lateral digital flexor (with tarsal flexor retinaculum), gastrocnemius, peroneus tertius, and tibialis cranialis tendons and the long plantar ligament. The lateral digital extensor, medial digital flexor, split peroneus tertius, and tibialis cranialis tendons and collateral ligaments could be located but not always clearly identified. Some small tarsal ligaments were identifiable, including plantar, medial, interosseus, and lateral talocalcaneal ligaments; interosseus talocentral, centrodistal, and tarsometatarsal ligaments; proximal and distal plantar ligaments; and talometatarsal ligament. Parts of the articular cartilage could be assessed on postcontrast images. Lesions were detected in the 4 tarsi with pathological changes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—CT of the tarsus is recommended when radiography and ultrasonography are inconclusive and during preoperative planning for treatment of complex fractures. Images from this study can serve as a CT reference, and CT of pathological changes was useful.