Digital ultrasonography is to soft tissues what digital radiography is to bones and joints. Our state-of-the art digital ultrasound equipment provides our veterinarians with high-detail images of soft tissues structures within the body. Our ultrasound machine is equipped with three different probes that are designed to evaluate tendons, ligaments and other internal organs in order to provide you with the best possible assessment for diagnosis and prognosis of injuries to these tissues. Just as in the case of digital radiography, the software of our digital ultrasound equipment allows our veterinarians to magnify, enhance and store images for future reference.
The sonogram on the right was obtained from a horse with an acute injury of his right front superficial digital flexor tendon. This image was obtained with the probe oriented transversely across the injured portion of the tendon. The bright white oval in the middle of the image is a cross-sectional view of the normal deep digital flexor tendon. The crescent-shaped structure that is outlined with a green dotted line is the injured superficial digital flexor tendon. The darker area on the back of this tendon represents fiber disruption of the superficial digital flexor tendon. Few intact fibers remain within the zone of injury. The software of this hospital ultrasound machine allows our veterinarians to accurately measure the cross-sectional area of the entire tendon as well as that of the area of injury in order to provide an accurate prognosis for athletic performance. Approximately 55% of horses with this type of injury make a successful return to racing. This type of tendon injury is a good candidate for regenerative therapy, including either platelet rich plasma (PRP)or stem cell injection, in conjunction with a carefully controlled exercise program. Surgical procedures, such as superior check desmotomy and annular desmotomy may also be helpful in managing injuries of the superficial digital flexor tendon, depending upon the location and extent of the tendon injury.