Clinical Relevance Of Abnormal Scintigraphic Findings Of Adult Equine Ribs

Dahlberg JA, Ross MW, Martin BB, et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2011;52:573-579.

Horses with cranial rib abnormalities may exhibit severe acute lameness and may have unusual gait deficits characterized by forelimb abduction during protraction at the walk. Horses with caudal rib abnormalities may resent being saddled and ridden. In a retrospective evaluation of 20 horses with a documented rib lesion, 25 sites of increased radiopharmaceutical uptake were found in one or more ribs. Thirteen (52%) scintigraphic lesions involved the first rib; four were located immediately dorsal to the sternal articulation, eight were near the costochondral junction and one was at the costovertebral junction. Six (24%) scintigraphic rib lesions involved ribs 2–8; one was located immediately dorsal to the sternal articulation, three were at the costovertebral junction and two were near the costochondral junction. Six (24%) scintigraphic rib lesions involved the mid-portion (five) or costovertebral junction (one) of ribs 9–18. The 20 horses were divided into three groups based on the clinical relevance of the scintigraphic findings. Group 1 (n=3) horses had clinical signs attributed to a rib abnormality; Group 2 (n=6) horses had a rib abnormality that was a plausible explanation for clinical signs; Group 3 (n=11) horses had clinical signs that could not be attributed to a rib abnormality. For horses with cranial rib abnormalities, a modified lateral scintigraphic image with the ipsilateral limb pulled caudally and a left (right) 45° caudal–right (left) radiograph facilitated the diagnosis.