Objective—To evaluate the use of CT and MRI for guidance of osteochondral sample collection for histologic detection of early osteoarthritic lesions in centrodistal (distal intertarsal) joints of horses.
Sample —Right tarsal joints from the cadavers of 24 Icelandic horses aged 29 to 31 months.
Procedures—CT and MRI were used to evaluate the extent of suspected osteoarthritic changes in centrodistal joints, which were graded with a semiquantitative system. The anatomic regions with the highest grade of change were identified, and osteochondral samples were obtained from these regions. Samples were also obtained from the same centrodistal joints at predetermined sites. Histologic examination of all samples was performed, with samples classified as negative or positive for osteoarthritis, and results were compared between sample collection methods.
Results—Histologic examination revealed osteoarthritic lesions in 29% (7/24) of centrodistal joints with the predetermined method and in 63% (15/24) with the image-guided method. Significant associations were identified between histologic osteoarthritis detection and the summed image-guided sample collection site image grades, central osteophytes, articular cartilage thickness abnormalities, grade 2 articular mineralization front defects, and grade 2 marginal osteophytes.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—CT and MRI aided the detection of focal changes suggestive of early-stage osteoarthritis in the centrodistal joints of equine cadavers and may be useful for detection of similar disease in live horses. The first morphological changes of centrodistal joint osteoarthritis were suspected to be in the articular cartilage and the articular mineralization front regions.