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MRI: Unlocking the Mystery of Navicular Disease


An EMC series


Navicular Disease has long described lameness attrib- uted to the navicular bone region and often resulted in career-ending lameness. Until recently, tools traditionally used to diagnosis navicular such as digital radiographs and ultrasound have fallen short on early detection. Today, the gold standard for diag- nosis of navicular disease is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI allows an early and exact diagno- sis, which is important to


aging


Radiograph Showing no evidence of injury to the deep digital flexor tendon.


determining the best treatment options needed to achieve positive outcomes. MRI and early detection of navicular disease have afforded many horses the treatment options that can significantly extend their careers.


The navicular bone region encompasses a variety of structures. The deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) passes over the navicular bone just before attaching to the under- side of the coffin bone. Between the navicular bone and DDFT is a pouch-like structure called the navicular bursa, which aids in smooth gliding of the DDFT over the navicu- lar bone. The navicular bone also has small associated structures – ligaments holding the bone in place. Injury to these smaller ligaments, such as the impar ligament, could


contribute to lameness. A single structure, or a complex of structures, can be injured to create lameness. MRI can precisely detect these injuries.


MRI image, red circle high- lights area of injury to deep digital flexor tendon.


bone


At the Equine Medical Center, standing MRI pro- vides detailed three-dimensional scans of the navicu- lar region, resulting in multiple images to focus on both bone and soft tissue anatomy.


v t


t Using these


images, our veterinarians diagnose the specific


anatomic structure(s) causing lameness and the degree of injury. These images prescribe the best treatment options including joint or bursal injections, guided intralesional injec- tions, surgery, therapeutic shoeing, and rehabilitation.


t a





–Maureen Kelleher DVM, DACVS


Clinical Assistant Professor of Sports Medicine


Formore nformation o


r more information on an MRI at EMC fori early detection of navicular disease, contact Kathy Ashland at (703) 771-6800.


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The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center (EMC) is a premier, full-service equine health facility offering cutting edge diagnostics and advanced specialty services by appointment as well as 24/7 emergency services.


emc.vetmed.vt.edu • 703-771-6800 • 17690 Waterford Road, Leesburg, VA 20176 www.equiery.com | 800-244-9580 SEPTEMBER 2017 | THE EQUIERY | 27


911156-170917


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