Introduction

Several studies show that up to 30 % of Warmblood horses present congenital anatomical variations of the lower caudal cervical and cranial thoracal spine (1, 2, 3,4, 5, 6). From the clinical point of view, it would be important to know if they are hereditable and impact the well-being of horses by producing pain and ataxia up to the extent of becoming unrideable. Studies on their hereditability are not available and the studies on their clinical relevance do not provide a clear answer (2, 4, 5, 6).

Objective

The objective of this study is to determine prospectively the prevalence of the congenital anatomical variations of the lower caudal cervical and cranial thoracal spine (C6 to T1), their hereditability and clinical relevance in Warmbloods.

Material and methods

A total of 500 Warmbloods aged 3 to 8 years will be examined. One half of these horses will have been presented with pain, ataxia or being unrideable without lameness or other conditions that could be related to regions of the body other than the neck. The other half of the horses will have been presented for other reasons than pain, lameness, ataxia, unrideable (pre purchase exams for example). All horses will undergo a thorough clinical exam including lameness and neurology and a standardized set of radiographies will be taken from C1 to T1.

At the end of the study there will be four groups of horses for statistical analysis of the hereditability and clinical relevance of the congenital anatomical variations of the lower caudal cervical and cranial thoracal spine:

  • 1) with pain, ataxia or being unrideable and with congenital anatomical variations of the lower caudal cervical and cranial thoracal spine
  • 2) with pain, ataxia or being unrideable and without congenital anatomical variations of the lower caudal cervical and cranial thoracal spine
  • 3) without pain, ataxia or being unrideable and with congenital anatomical variations of the lower caudal cervical and cranial thoracal spine
  • 4) without pain, ataxia or being unrideable and without congenital anatomical variations of the lower caudal cervical and cranial thoracal spine

References

 1 May-Davis S 2014 The Occurrence of a Congenital Malformation in the Sixth and Seventh Cervical Vertebrae Predominantly Observed in Thoroughbred Horses. J. Equine Vet. Sci. 34: 1313-1317

2 DeRouen A, Spriet M, Aleman M (2016) Prevalence of anatomical variation of the sixth cervical vertebra and association with vertebral canal stenosis and articular process osteoarthritis in the horse. Vet. Radiol. and Ultrasound 57: 253–258.

3 Veraa S, Bergmann W, van den Belt AJ, Wijnberg I, Back W (2016) Ex Vivo Computed Tomographic Evaluation of Morphology Variations in Equine Cervical Vertebrae. Vet. Radiol. Ultrasound 57: 482– 488.

4 Beccati F, Pepe M, Santinelli I, Gialletti R, Di Meo A, Romero JM (2020) Radiographic findings and anatomical variations of the caudal cervical area in horses with neck pain and ataxia: case–control study on 116 horses. Vet. Rec.: doi: 10.1136/vr.105756; http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com

Audigie F, Rovel T, Coudry V, Bertoni L, Jacquet S, Danjon C, Denoix JM (2017) Malformations of the first ribs in equine sports and racehorses. Vet. Radiol. Ultrasound 57: 711–712.

5 Crijns CP, Broeckx BJG (2020) Evaluation of cervical radiographs in Dutch Warmblood horses, using a novel radiographic grading system for the cervical articular process joints. Equine vet. Educ. Doi: 10.1111/eve.13375

6 Veraa S, de Graaf K, Wijnberg ID, Back W, Vernooij H, Nielen M, Belt AJM (2020) Caudal cervical vertebral morphological variation is not associated with clinical signs in Warmblood horses. Equine Veterinary J. 52: 219–224

Involved

  • Dr. Nadine Blum und Tim Steinberg: Tierklinik Lüsche GmbH, Essenerstraße 39a, 49456 Lüsche
  • Prof. Dr. Ottmar Distl: Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover, Institut für Tierzucht und Vererbungsforschung, Bünteweg 17, Gebäude 201, 30559 Hannover
  • Dr. Sue Dyson: The Cottage, Church Road, Market Weston IP22 2NX, England
  • Dr. Jasmin Haupt und Dr. Jens Körner: Hanseklinik für Pferde, Tierärzte Dres. Körner Leser Brandenberger PartGmbB, Karl-Benz-Str. 5-7, 27419 Sittensen
  • Dr. Maren Hellige und Prof. Dr. Florian Geburek: Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover, Klinik für Pferde, Bünteweg 9, 30559 Hannover
  • Anna Henning und Dr. Ralf Pellmann: Pferdepraxis Dr. Pellmann, Bremer Damm 39, 27367 Hellwege
  • Dr. Inka Kreling-Boysen: Tierärztliche Praxis für Pferde, Binger Str. 83, 55218 Ingelheim
  • Dr. Arno Lindner: Arbeitsgruppe Pferd, Heinrich-Röttgen-Str. 20, 52428 Jülich
  • Dr. Ina Lorenz und Dr. Werner Jahn: Tierärztliche Klinik für Pferde, Dres. Jahn/Sill/Lorenz/Brunk Partnerschaftsgesellschaft, Alte Landstr. 104, 22941 Bargteheide
  • Dr. Gabriel Manso Diaz: Hospital Clinico Veterinario, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense, Avda. Puerta del Hierro s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
  • Priv.-Doz. Dr. Sven Reese: Lehrstuhl für Anatomie, Histologie und Embryologie, Veterinärwissenschaftliches Department, Tierärztliche Fakultät der LMU München, Veterinärstr. 13, 80539 München
  • Dr. Katharina Ros: Pferdezahnzentrum Döhle, Dorfstr. 40, 21272 Döhle