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Equine practice
Presales radiographic surveys in yearlings 1. Image interpretation and significance of lesions in the fetlock
  1. Rob Pilsworth

    Rob Pilsworth graduated from Cambridge in 1981 and spent four years in mixed practice before joining an equine practice in Newmarket, where he spent 20 years mainly looking after thoroughbred racehorses and building up the diagnostic imaging side of the practice. He is now an associate at the Newmarket Equine Hospital, working exclusively for a single large thoroughbred training organisation. He has a special interest in lameness diagnosis, radiology and imaging. He holds the RCVS certificate in veterinary radiology.

  2. Marcus Head

    Marcus Head graduated from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in 1994. He worked in practice in Bedfordshire before moving to Newmarket to undertake an internship in equine orthopaedics at the Animal Health Trust. He subsequently returned to the RVC to undertake another internship before joining Rossdales in Newmarket as a racing assistant. He is now a referral clinician based at the practice's diagnostic centre.


The sale of thoroughbreds, whether via public auction or privately, frequently demands the use of prepurchase radiography. This is may be carried out by the vendor in advance of a sale in an attempt to assure purchasers that the animal they are about to buy is ‘fit for purpose’ and does not carry any bone lesions that would not be visible on an external clinical examination and which could impact future soundness and a horse's ability to train. In other cases, these radiographs are taken at the sales complex itself on behalf of and paid for by the potential purchaser. This article, the first of two reviewing the predictive value of presales radiographs in yearlings, discusses the interpretation of the images and considers the possible consequences of particular changes found in the fetlock on the future potential athletic performance of a racehorse. Part 2, to be published in the June issue of In Practice, reviews the significance of lesions present in the carpus, tarsus and stifle.

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