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Collateral Ligament Injury in the Elbow of Horses

By Marcus J. Head, BVetMed, Rossdales Equine Hospital and Diagnostic Centre ; James K. Belknap, DVM, PhD, DACVS, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ohio State University ; Tracy A. Turner, DVM, MS, Anoka Equine Veterinary Services ; Jane C. Boswell, MA, VetMB, CertVA, CertES (Orth), DECVS, MRCVS, The Liphook Equine Hospital ; Peter Clegg, MA, Vet MB, DipECVS, PhD, MRCVS, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Liverpool ; Matthew T. Brokken, DVM, The Ohio State University ; James Schumacher, DVM, MS, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee ; John Schumacher, DVM, MS, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University ; Chris Whitton, BVSc, FANZCVS, PhD, Equine Centre, University of Melbourne

Most commonly detected laterally, probably for biomechanical and imaging reasons, these injuries can be detected with ultrasonography. Medial collateral ligaments are more difficult to image but can be assessed. Radiographs may document new bone (enthesiophytes) associated with injury. A number are found by scintigraphy, associated with a “hot spot” even in the absence of radiographic changes. Prognosis depends on the severity of the injury. At this time, no proven therapies exist to augment ligament healing. A number of treatments have been tried, including intra-articular medication, periligamentous injection of biologics (eg, platelet-rich plasma), systemic disease-modifying drugs, and extracorporeal shockwave therapy.