Low Frequency Ultrasound Therapy Treatment of Suspensory Ligament Branches Desmitis

Barbara Riccio
16th WEVA Congress – Verona, ItalyOctober 3-5, 2019

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Mare born in 1998 – retired (stable with small paddock)

2014: first injury at right hindlimb suspensory ligament branches; stop competition and retired (stable-paddock)

  • Progressive bilateral degeneration on both hindlimbs suspensory ligaments (SL)
  • Progressive enlargement of SL branches and body, inflammation and pain
  • Lack of fetlock extension in both hindlimbs
  • Suffering mare often laying on the ground
  • Chronic hindlimb lameness with episodes of severe exacerbation
  • Farrier has difficulties to trim the feet

August 25 2017: severe worsening

  • Mare laying down all day
  • Severe bilateral hindlimb lameness with worsening / lack of fetlock extension
  • No improvement with ice and systemic AINS
  • Impossible to lift rear feet
  • Ultrasound examination shows severe desmitis of SL branches and body
  • Emergency situation: hospitalization for 1 month
  • 10 low frequency ultrasound therapy treatments (3 per week for 2 weeks, then 2 per week for 2 weeks)

September 30 2017

  • Clinical and ultrasound check
  • Mare never laying down during the day
  • Improvement in hindlimb lameness
  • She recovered her temperament!
  • Decrease in size of suspensory ligament branches and body
  • Decrease of inflammation and pain

1 month later - September 30 2017

LH Lat - Aug 25 2017

equine suspensory ligament branches desmitis

LH LAT - 1 month later - Sept 30 2017

RH Med - Aug 25 2017

horse suspensory ligament branches desmitis_1

RH MED - 1 month later - Sept 30 2017

RH Lat - Aug 25 2017

horse suspensory ligament branches desmitis_2

RH LAT - 1 month later - Sept 30 2017

After hospitalization and therapy mare went back home to a stable with a small paddock.
The comparison of the pictures below from August 2017 and October 2019 show the improvement of the fetlocks swelling.
The lateral suspensory branch of the LH and both branches of the RH are much smaller.

low frequency ultrasound therapy treatment of equine suspensory ligament branches desmitis

The 2-years follow-up shows good outcome of low frequency ultrasound therapy.

Since September 2017 the mare never presented pain or recurrence of suspensory ligament desmitis.

Update: this mare died on March 2020 for EHV1 neurological disease.

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