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Proximal phalanges in horses are among bones that are most prone to injuries. So far, the detailed analysis of densitometric and geometric parameters of both front legs proximal phalanges in horses has not been investigated. The aim of this study was to compare the densitometric and geometric parameters between proximal phalanges in equine both front legs with the use of peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT).
The study material comprised isolated both front legs proximal phalanges derived from 22 horses. The structure analysis of the proximal phalanges was conducted with the pQCT. The following bone parameters were determined: bone mineral content, volumetric bone mineral density, total bone area, trabecular area, cortical area, cortical thickness, periosteal circumference, endocortical circumference, Strength Strain Index. Tomographic analysis of proximal phalanges was conducted at three levels: at 15%, 50% and 85% of the bone length.
The statistical analysis showed that both the densitometric and geometric parameters of the bone at 50% and 85% of its length, did not present any statistically significant differences for the left or right proximal phalanges of the forelimb. At the same time, all examined parameters measured at 15% of the bone length, in the vicinity of the proximal metaphysis revealed significant statistical differences between both front legs proximal phalanges.
The proximal phalanx parameters in the forelimbs are significantly different for the left and right proximal phalanx at 15% of the length and they indicate higher Strength Strain Index of the left bone in this location. The densitometric and geometric parameters of the bone at 50% and 85% of its length, did not present any statistically significant differences for the left or right proximal phalanges of the left and right forelimbs. The most serious changes caused by asymmetrical load of the thoracic limbs in horses occur near the proximal metaphysis, where the spongious substance is most abundant. This may happen because the metabolism of the spongious bone tissue is eight times faster compared to the compact bone tissue. Thus, any changes, including those caused by asymmetrical strain exerted on the right and left thoracic limbs, are the earliest to be observed.