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N Z Vet J., 2005; 53(2): 101-12, PMID: 15846394

Musculoskeletal responses of 2-year-old Thoroughbred horses to early training. 6. Bone parameters in the third metacarpal and third metatarsal bones

Jahr: 2005

Firth EC, Rogers CW, Doube M, Jopson NB
Massey Equine, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North, New Zealand.


AIM: To determine the effect of a known training regimen on the size and mineral content of the third metacarpal (Mc3) and third metatarsal (Mt3) bones of 2-year-old Thoroughbred horses trained on racetracks. METHODS: Mc3 and Mt3 of seven horses trained on grass and sand tracks were scanned at several sites using conventional quantitative and peripheral computed tomography (CT). Bone dimensions and density in the diaphysis and epiphysis were compared with those from seven untrained horses. Calcein label was injected in two clusters, during Weeks 9 and 12. The extent and rate of diaphyseal modelling was determined by confocal fluorescent microscopic examination of thin plane parallel sections of the mid-metacarpal region. RESULTS: Volumetric bone mineral density (BMDv) of the epiphysis was markedly higher and of the diaphysis was slightly higher in trained compared with untrained horses, but greater bone size in the trained horses had the greatest effect on an index of bone strength. Active osteons, defined as Haversian systems containing calcein label, were fewer, of smaller diameter at the time of calcein injection, and had a greater bone apposition rate in trained than in untrained horses. CONCLUSIONS: Conventional training of 2-year-old Thoroughbred racehorses over a 13-week period had a significant effect on bone size, density and strength index when compared to untrained horses. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Bone responded rapidly to early training. The data provide reference values and sites for use in longitudinal studies of commercial training regimens.

GID: 899; Letzte Änderung: 23.01.2008