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Newmarket, United Kingdom

Dyson S.,Center for Equine Studies
Seminars in Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear scintigraphic examination of equine athletes has a potentially important role in the diagnosis of lameness or poor performance, but increased radiopharmaceutical uptake (IRU) is not necessarily synonymous with pain causing lameness. Nuclear scintigraphy is highly sensitive to changes in bone turnover that may be induced by loading and knowledge of normal patterns of RU is crucial for accurate diagnosis. Blood pool images can be useful for identification of some soft tissue injuries, although acute bone injuries may also have intense IRU in blood pool images. Some muscle injuries may be associated with IRU in bone phase images. The use of scintigraphy together with other diagnostic imaging modalities has helped us to better understand the mechanisms of some musculoskeletal injuries. In immature racehorses, stress-related bone injury is a common finding and may be multifocal, whereas in mature sport horses, a very different spectrum of injuries may be identified. False-negative results are common with some injuries. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source

Dyson S.,Center for Equine Studies | Greve L.,Center for Equine Studies
Veterinary Journal

Several studies have shown that there is a high prevalence of ill-fitting saddles. Many riders do not have saddle fit professionally assessed on at least an annual basis. Back dimensions can change considerably over the period of a year and therefore saddle fit should be assessed several times yearly, especially if work intensity has been altered. Saddle fit should be evaluated before and after exercise because back dimensions can change during work. Ideally, horses should be ridden in individual purpose-fitted saddles, rather than the same saddle being used on several horses. There remains little scientific rationale for the use of pads and numnahs under a saddle, except to temporarily improve saddle fit, and the use of numnahs that exert pressure on the spinous processes can be detrimental to performance. Although saddle slip consistently to one side can be associated with poor saddle fit or asymmetry of the horse's back, the most common cause is hindlimb lameness. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Greve L.,Center for Equine Studies | Dyson S.,Center for Equine Studies
Veterinary Journal

Major back dimension changes over time have been observed in some horses, the speed of which may be influenced by work type, skeletal maturity, nutrition and saddle fit. Currently, there are no longitudinal data quantifying changes in back dimensions. The objectives of this study were to quantify back dimension changes over time, to identify the effects of horse, saddle and rider on these dimensions, and to determine their association with season, weight, work and saddle management. A prospective, longitudinal study was performed, using stratified random sampling within a convenience sample of 104 sports horses in normal work. Thoracolumbar dimensions/symmetry were measured at predetermined sites every second month over 1 year; weight, work and saddle management changes were recorded. Descriptive statistics, and univariable and multiple mixed effects linear regression were performed to assess the association between management changes, horse-saddle-rider factors and back dimension changes.Complete data was available for 63/104 horses, including horses used for dressage (n = 26), showjumping (n = 26), eventing (n = 26) and general purpose (n = 26), with age groups 3-5 years (n = 24), 6-8 years (n = 28), 9-12 years (n = 24) and ≥ 13 years (n = 28). There were considerable variations in back dimensions over 1 year. In the multivariable analysis, the presence of gait abnormalities at initial examination and back asymmetry were significant and had a negative effect on changes in back dimensions. Subsequent improved saddle fit, similar or increased work intensity, season (summer versus winter) and increased bodyweight retained significance, having positive effects on changes in back dimensions. In conclusion, quantifiable changes in back dimensions occur throughout the year. Saddle fit should be reassessed professionally several times a year, especially if there has been a change in work intensity. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Greve L.,Center for Equine Studies | Dyson S.,Center for Equine Studies
Equine Veterinary Journal

Reasons for performing study: No previous studies have investigated interrelationships between saddle fit/management, equine thoracolumbar asymmetries, rider and horse health. Objectives: To assess associations between data obtained by clinical assessment and those provided by riders via a questionnaire. Study design: Clinical assessment of a convenience sample of horses and riders compared with a Web-based questionnaire survey (n = 205). Methods: Horse thoracolumbar asymmetries at predetermined sites, the presence of lameness (in hand and/or ridden), saddle slip, saddle fit/management and rider straightness were assessed. Kappa statistics were used to assess the relationship between categorical clinical data and questionnaire data from riders. Spearman's correlation was used to investigate associations between outcomes from clinical assessment (horse, saddle and rider data) and information provided by riders. Results: There was a 40.5% (205 of 506) questionnaire response rate. Thirty horses (14.6%) had saddle slip, which was significantly associated with hindlimb lameness or gait abnormalities (P<0.001), but only 2 riders had considered a link between saddle slip and lameness. Rider back pain was common (38.5%) and associated with ill-fitting saddles (P = 0.03) and either a quadrupedally reduced cranial phase of the step or a stiff, stilted canter (P = 0.006). Well-fitted saddles were associated with frequent saddle fit checks (P = 0.004). Minor thoracolumbar asymmetries (P = 0.04) were negatively associated with ill-fitting saddles and positively associated with rider skill level (P = 0.001). Conclusions: The interaction between the horse, saddle and rider is complex. Ill-fitting saddles and a stiff, stilted canter or quadrupedally reduced cranial phase of the step are associated with rider back pain. Equine back pain and minor thoracolumbar asymmetries are associated with ill-fitting saddles. Saddle fit should be checked more often than once yearly to lower the number of ill-fitting saddles. Riders, trainers and other professionals involved in equine care and performance need better education to recognise ill-fitting saddles, lameness, saddle slip and rider crookedness. © 2014 EVJ Ltd. Source

Nagy A.,Center for Equine Studies | Dyson S.J.,Center for Equine Studies | Murray J.K.,University of Bristol
Veterinary Journal

The popularity of competitive endurance riding is growing worldwide and this has led to considerable changes in the discipline (e.g., fitter and faster horses and different types of injuries), which create challenges to all involved in the sport, including veterinarians. During endurance competitions, horses are closely monitored by veterinarians throughout the ride, with the aim of removing from the competition animals whose welfare appears to be endangered. This close monitoring provides veterinarians with an insight into problems during competitions. However, there is a relatively small amount of clinically relevant, evidence-based data published on endurance horses, and this article reviews the evolution of the discipline, the published information on epidemiological data on endurance rides, the problems veterinarians face at competitions, and highlights those areas where research is warranted. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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