Bilateral Catastrophic Metacarpal Fractures in a Quarter Horse Gelding

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A 5 year-old, 450 kg, American Quarter Horse gelding was presented for postmortem examination. The horse had sustained multiple fractures of the metacarpal bones of both fore limbs while being ridden at a canter. Based on the radiographic presence of parasagittal fractures in the condyles of the distal third metacarpus, we theorized that the fractures in this horse likely originated in the metacarpophalangeal joint and propagated into the diaphysis resulting in catastrophic failure. The unique finding in this case is that these injuries occurred in a horse that was not being trained for racing. Owners and trainers should be aware that horses trained for disciplines other than racing can develop condylar fractures similar to racing Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses.

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