Rossdales partner Pete Ramzan and former Rossdales clinical research resident Dr Claire Wylie (now Senior Lecturer in Evidence Based Practice at the University of Sydney Veterinary School) have recently had their second and final research paper investigating fetlock chips in racehorses published in the highly regarded and peer-reviewed Equine Veterinary Journal.
The study looked into clinical presentation, long-term clinical outcome and post-injury career performance of horses that sustained a chip fracture of the fetlock, and provides valuable new data that can help clinicians to decide on the most appropriate management of this injury.
It has long been presumed that surgical removal of fetlock chips is the treatment of choice. However, the current study demonstrated faster return to racing following non-surgical management, with no negative effects on long-term soundness or key career performance metrics.
“For decades it has been assumed that the best treatment for acute fetlock chips is arthroscopic removal and that leaving chips untreated results in arthritis and underperformance due to career interruptions or early retirement” explains Pete Ramzan. “However, this belief was founded on a small handful of scientific papers that looked solely at hospital-based surgical caseloads, with no comparisons to alternative management.
“Our experience in racing practice has been that most acute chips result in only transient inflammation of the affected joint and that longer-term soundness is not at all jeopardised by non-surgical management, and it was nice to see the statistical analysis of the data support our clinical impressions.”
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