We are now recognizing a whole new class of injuries made visible though MRI. Tendons and ligaments are throughout the body, including the back, shoulder and stifle, and MRI has been very useful in diagnosing tendon and ligament injuries in these areas.
MRI has also helped veterinarians see injuries in tiny structures that can go unseen on ultrasound. Collateral ligaments are small short ligaments that help stabilize a joint. The significant locations of injury in these ligaments are the hock, stifle and coffin joints. Collateral ligament damage of the coffin joint is starting to become a more recognized injury due to the use of MRI. This tiny ligament has been found to be the cause of front limb lameness isolated to the heel region of the hoof, which sometimes goes wrongly diagnosed as navicular disease. Deep tears close to the coffin bone can’t be imaged with ultrasound, so it is possible that this injury has been underdiagnosed. But now with the use of MRI, we can image the damage and make a proper diagnosis. In my practice, this has answered the question to many undiagnosed front limb lamenesses that are sound on hard ground but lame on the outside leg traveling in soft footing circles.
Back to Tendon and Ligament Injuries.