MSD Manual

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Professional Version

Disorders of the Elbow in Horses


Marcus J. Head

, BVetMed

Last full review/revision Sep 2015 | Content last modified Jun 2016

Elbow lameness is rare but should always be considered if the source of pain cannot be isolated to the distal limb. Synoviocentesis is achieved via lateral approaches either close to the collateral ligament or into the caudal pouch. Radiography is limited to mediolateral (limb extended) and craniocaudal projections (weightbearing). Ultrasonography allows inspection of the lateral joint margins and collateral ligament as well as the medial collateral ligament (limb flexed and abducted). Lameness originating from the elbow is not generally considered to produce characteristic gait changes, but disuse muscle atrophy may be more evident than expected with lower limb lesions. Occasionally, loss of definition or discomfort may be appreciable during careful palpation.

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