Influence of radiographically detectable orthopedic changes on racing performance in standardbred trotters

Grøndahl, A.M.; Engeland, A.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 206(7): 1013-1017


The tarsocrural, metacarpophalangeal, and metatarsophalangeal joints of 753 Standardbred yearlings were radiographed. On the basis of radiographic findings, the horses were allotted into 4 groups. Group-1 horses had osteochondrosis in the tarsocrural joints. Group-2 horses had palmar/plantar bony fragments in the metacarpo- and metatarsophalangeal joints. Group-3 horses had radiographic changes in the metacarpo- and metatarsophalangeal joint region, such as bony fragments located at the dorsoproximal end of the proximal phalanx, osteochondrosis of the sagittal ridge of the third metacarpus/metatarsus, ununited proximoplantar tuberosity of the proximal phalanx, or nonarticular, osteolytic and productive changes in the proximal sesamoid bones. Group-4 horses did not have radiographic changes. The number of race starts and race earnings (categorized) of the horses in groups 1, 2, and 3 were compared with those of the horses in group 4, using a multivariate regression analysis. Horses in groups 1, 2, and 3 had significantly fewer starts and somewhat lower earnings compared with the horses in group 4.