Bone chip in front of fetlock joint.
Bone chip in front of fetlock joint.

Many of you have undoubtedly heard of using MRI in human medicine and now it is becoming more available on the equine side. The primary role for horses is to evaluate soft tissue, bone and joint structures. Being able to "see" a lesion and comment on the integrity of the affected tissues has been a quantum leap in our diagnostic capabilities. Perhaps I can tell an owner very accurately that there is a chip in the fetlock joint, but I can't clearly tell you if it's having an affect on the joint surface at that point. In addition I can see the disrupted ligament fibers in the ligament, but may not be able to see how the neighboring bone is affected by it.

MRI Images of a Horse's Foot

MRI image of lame foot with injured tendon.
MRI image of lame foot with injured tendon.
3rd MRI image. In this view we are looking down at the foot and the deep flexot tendon tear can be easily visualized.
3rd MRI image. In this view we are looking down at the foot and the deep flexot tendon tear can be easily visualized.

Images of a horse being injected with stem cells using ultrasound guidance.

Horse with a hole or core lesion in the superficial digital flexor tendon. See blacker area from fiber disruption in tendon.
Horse with a hole or core lesion in the superficial digital flexor tendon. See blacker area from fiber disruption in tendon.
In this image I have inserted a needle using ultrasound guidance so stem cells can be injected.
In this image I have inserted a needle using ultrasound guidance so stem cells can be injected.
In this third image the brighter white area is where I deposited the stem cells in the torn tendon. .
In this third image the brighter white area is where I deposited the stem cells in the torn tendon. .