Global Epidemiological Analysis of Prevalence and Risk Factors Associated With the Deep Digital Flexor Tendinopathy in the Equine Distal Limb: 100 Cases

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The purpose of this study was to establish the prevalence and the risk factors for deep digital flexor (DDF) distal tendinopathy in the equine limb (from the proximal extremity of the middle phalanx to the insertion of this tendon to the distal phalanx) and to identify the circumstances that promote this pathological condition. This epidemiological analysis was performed on 100 horses diagnosed with DDF distal tendinopathies at CIRALE-Hippolia between January 2009 and June 2010. All horses included in this study were diagnosed by ultrasonographic examination with front limb lameness associated with distal DDF tendinopathies at CIRALE-Hippolia in the aforementioned period. The sources of information were the individual medical records of horses. The considered risk factors were as follows: breed, age, sex, and athletic discipline. The risk was quantified by analyzing statistical association of the studied condition and different factors that can interfere with its evolution. Lameness associated with distal DDF tendinopathy has been mostly identified in jumping horses. The most well represented age category was the 8–10 years one, but the horses aged between 11 and 14 years had the highest risk for developing DDF tendinopathy. Females were more prone to this type of injury. The current epidemiological analysis provides a model for risk and protective factors for the development of DDF tendinopathy in the equine distal limb. The most susceptible group of equids are female Warmbloods more than the age of seven, whereas young male Thoroughbreds and French Trotters (0–3 year-old) carry the lowest risk in developing this pathology.

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