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Desmitis or Sprain of the Inferior Check Ligament in Horses


Inferior check ligament desmitis is a commonly made diagnosis and is often confused with desmitis of the proximal suspensory ligament. Before the use of ultrasonography, the differentiation was difficult. The primary clinical sign is lameness that is alleviated by infiltration of anesthetic behind the proximal aspect of the metacarpus. Anesthetic injected in this area, however, may infiltrate outpouchings of the carpometa-carpal joint in >30% of horses, leading to analgesia of both the carpometacarpal and intercarpal joints. Therefore, a local block of the proximal aspect of the palmar metacarpal nerves is preferable. This condition has been treated conservatively in the past, but sectioning of the ligament, shock wave therapy, and intralesional injection of bone marrow-derived stem cells have become common and achieve relatively good results.

Last full review/revision March 2012 by Stephen B. Adams, DVM, MS, DACVS; Joerg A. Auer, DrMedVet, Dr h c, MS, DACVS, DECVS; James K. Belknap, DVM, PhD, DACVS; Jane C. Boswell, MA, VetMB, CertVA, CertES (Orth), DECVS, MRCVS; Peter Clegg, MA, Vet MB, PhD, CertEO, DECVS, MRCVS; Andrew L. Crawford, BVetMed, CertES (Orth), MRCVS; Jean-Marie Denoix, DVM, PhD, Agregé; Marcus J. Head, BVetMed, MRCVS; C. Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, PhD, DSc, FRCVS, DACVS, DACVSMR; James Schumacher, DVM, MS, DACVS, MRCVS; John Schumacher, DVM, MS, DACVIM; Roger K. W. Smith, MA, VetMB, PhD, DEO, DECVS, MRCVS; Chris Whitton, BVSc, FACVSc, PhD

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