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Penetrating Injuries and MRI

Standing MRI can be indispensable when assessing a penetrating injury


The majority of MRI scans are performed when there are few external clues as to the cause of the horse’s lameness. Penetrating injuries, however, have very obvious causes. MRI is used to image the injury site and investigate exactly which internal structures have been damaged. Occasionally an injury previously thought to be soft tissue related is actually identified by MRI as an undetected penetrating injury. In the case below, however, it was only too obvious where the injury site was.

Case study: 12 year old Thoroughbred gelding

When Dynamite’s owner brought him in from the field on aPenetrating injury, Dynamite foot dark January afternoon she noticed that he was unable to bear any weight on his off hind. Upon inspection, the horse had suffered an unusual and very uncomfortable injury. A front shoe had come away and was embedded at both ends in the hind foot. One end of the shoe was in the coronary band and the other penetrated near the point of the frog. Once farrier Mark Aiken had carefully worked the shoe free, the foot was bandaged and the horse sent to Rossdale and Partners.

X-ray at Rossdales showed that the pedal bone (P3) was unaffected but there were still doubts as to whether the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) was damaged. Fortunately, standing MRI was able to show that the DDFT had been avoided (although you can see from the middle picture on the bottom row just how close it came). With this knowledge, the team could concentrate on Dynamite’s known injuries and the owner was saved the time and expense of unnecessary treatments. Happily, Dynamite was totally sound the next day and he has since returned to his previous level of work.

Penetrating injury, Dynamite MRIs

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