Radial nerve: trauma in Horses (Equis) | Vetlexicon
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Radial nerve: trauma

ISSN 2398-2977

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Introduction

  • Cause: humeral fractures or post-anesthetic recumbency.
  • Signs: non-weightbearing, lack of elbow extension, inability to fix elbow, resting of elbow in extended position, resting the dorsum of pastern on the ground, forward thrust of the limb at walk.
  • Diagnosis: thoracic limb lameness.
  • Treatment: DMSO, corticosteroids, surgery.
  • Prognosis: good to grave.

Presenting signs

  • Non-weightbearing on the affected limb.
  • With pure radial nerve paralysis the horse will be able to bear weight if limb is splinted.
  • With pure radial nerve paralysis horse is unable to "fix" elbow and carpus. This is why they appear non-weightbearing.
  • Elbow rested in the flexed position with the dorsum of the pastern on the ground "dropped elbow".
  • At a walk, the limb will be thrust forward.

Geographic incidence

  • Worldwide.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Humeral fractures.
  • Collisions with objects.
  • Post-recumbency anesthesia   →   especially if the limb is malpositioned and stretched.

Pathophysiology

  • Largest outflow from brachial plexus.
  • Innervates extensors of elbow, carpus and digit.
  • Sensory component to front of antebrachium.
  • Depending on site of the injury the paralysis can be total or partial.
  • Probably caused by compression of the radial nerve roots between the scapula and the ribs.
  • Not commonly damaged alone.
  • Involvement with humeral fractures possible.

Timecourse

  • Long-standing damage   →   atrophy of triceps brachialis, extensor carpi radialis, ulnaris lateralis and the digital extensor muscles.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers