A retrospective study was done recently by a group of researchers to look at the diagnosis, treatment, and outcome of hindlimb proximal suspensory desmopathy (disease of the upper portion of the suspensory ligament), PSD, in sport horses. PSD is a common sport horse problem, and the goal of this study was to “describe the rate of return to athletic function in 75 sport horses with hindlimb PSD treated either surgically, with extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) or with a combination of the two modalities.”
Seventy-five horses were included in this study after meeting very specific criteria with respect to diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation protocols. Forty-one of these horses had surgery, with twenty-four returning to their previous level of work. One out of forty-one returned to a lower level, with an average of 10.1 months for that return. Thirty-four horses received ESWT, with twenty of the thirty-four returning to their previous level of work and four out of thirty-four returning to a lower level in 7.4 months on average. Fifteen horses remained lame after their primary treatment and were treated with other methods. Seven out of fifteen returned to their previous level of work after both treatments. Thirty-five of seventy-five of these horses had only one hindlimb affected.
The results suggest that, while both groups had similar rates of return to athletic function, ESWT was able to return these horses to their previous athletic level sooner.
Scientific Article: Norvall, AP et al. Diagnosis, Treatment, and Outcome of Hindlimb
Proximal Suspensory Desmopathy in Sport Horses: 75 cases (2008-2014). AAEP
Proceedings, vol. 61, 2015, p. 358.