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Equine Distal Limb - Anatomy and Imaging

The equine distal limb is of huge clinical importance with the majority of lameness attributable to pathology in this region. For veterinarians, a good working knowledge of the anatomy of this region is therefore key. Veterinary students, however, typically find the musculoskeletal anatomy of this region difficult to master, perhaps due to its complex spatial relationships and small size of some structures. The presence of a rigid horn capsule also makes visualising structures within the foot challenging.

Over the last decade CT and especially MRI of the foot has become standard procedure in equine referral practice whilst ultrasonography is commonly utilised in first opinion equine practice for visualising the soft tissues in the pastern and metacarpal region. There is value to integrating these widely used diagnostic images into anatomy teaching of this region in order to enhance clinical relevance, and aid conceptual development by presenting anatomical information in multiple forms. There is reciprocal benefit in integrating gross anatomy images into clinical teaching of equine orthopaedics and diagnostic imaging.

We have produced a virtual library of anatomical cross sections of the equine distal limb, along with matching diagnostic images (CT, MRI and ultrasound) from the same thoroughbred horse limbs. The resource is open access and will be used to enhance the teaching of anatomy, equine orthopaedics and diagnostic imaging at the RVC. The corresponding physical plastinated anatomical cross sections are available to view in the RVC anatomy museum.

Equine Distal Limb - Anatomy and Imaging

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