ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that in man ultrasonography is more accurate than radiography for detecting rib fractures.
To describe clinical, radiographic and ultrasonographic findings related with rib fractures in newborn foals in an equine critical care unit; and to compare diagnostic accuracy of ultrasonography to radiography.
A prospective ultrasonographic study was performed on 29 foals presented to the emergency unit. This study was performed at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vétérinaire (CHUV), University of Montreal. Physical examination as well as radiographic and ultrasonographic examinations were performed.
Thoracic radiographs revealed 10 rib fractures in 5 of 26 (19%) foals. Ultrasonography revealed 49 fractures in 19 of 29 (65%) foals of which fillies (n = 13; 68%) were significantly over represented as were fractures to the left thorax (n = 15; 78%). Seventeen of 19 foals (90%) had rib fractures located 3 cm or less from the costochondral junction, the distal part of the rib being displaced laterally in all cases. In 2 foals, where both thoracic radiographs and ultrasonography detected rib fractures, the site of fractures was located on the mid portion of the rib. Rib fractures were detected only by thoracic radiographs in one foal. Sixty-five percent (32/49) of fractured ribs had a moderate displacement (1-4 mm).
Rib fractures are seen frequently in newborn foals in equine critical care units. Ultrasonography is more accurate than radiography and reveals fractures in most patients presented in emergency. The position (costochondral junction) of rib fractures and of the fragments suggest that most thoracic trauma probably occurs during parturition.
Ultrasound imaging increases awareness and improves the diagnosis of rib fractures in newborn foals.
Equine Veterinary Journal 04/2007; 39(2):158-63. · 1.46 Impact Factor