DIAGNOSTIC ultrasonography for the musculoskeletal system in the horse was first used in the early 1980s. Initial applications were directed towards the diagnosis of flexor tendon and ligament injuries in the distal limb, but this modality is now commonly indicated for the assessment of the stifle, hock, fetlock, carpus, pastern and coffin joints. This article describes the use of diagnostic ultrasound in horses to examine these joints, as well as muscle and bone, outlining normal versus pathological findings in each case. While this imaging technique may also be employed to examine the shoulder, hip, cervical facet and temporomandibular joints, the indications are less frequent and, hence, are not discussed in this article. In all cases, knowledge of the normal anatomy is essential in obtaining diagnostically useful images and aiding interpretation.
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