Evaluation of the variably ossified collateral cartilages of the distal phalanx and adjacent anatomic structures in the Finnhorse with computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging

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Ruohoniemi M, Karkkainen M, Tervahartiala P.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 1997;38:344-351.

Six Finnhorse cadaver forefeet were selected to represent radiographically different types and grades of ossification of the collateral cartilages of the distal phalanx. These cartilages and adjacent tissues were evaluated with computed tomography (CT) and high field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In CT the internal structure of the cartilages was consistent, but in MRI some differences were noted. The shape of the collateral cartilages and their ligamentous attachments varied. The border between ossified and non-ossified cartilage appeared distinct, with considerable variation in the extent of the ossified area in regard to the cross-sectional area of the cartilage. Ossification originating from the palmar processes and extending in the proximal/palmaroproximal direction, without separate centers of ossification, generally appeared smooth and inactive. Palmar ossification followed the irregular shape of the cartilage. Separate centers of ossification had a medullary cavity or were sclerotic. Presence of a medullary cavity or sclerosis were also found at the base of the cartilages. The incomplete fusion lines between separate centres of ossification and the ossified base of the cartilage varied from congruent and inactive to reactive with marked sclerosis, flared margins and parachondral changes. Incomplete fusion may be clinically significant. Local conformational adaptations of the hoof were also documented with extensive ossification of the collateral cartilage.