EQUUS - - Medical Front -

New re­search from the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia– Davis sug­gests that surgery may be the best op­tion for treat­ing tem­poro­hy­oid os­teoarthropa­thy (THO), an arthritic con­di­tion of a joint at the base of the skull that can lead to se­vere neu­ro­log­i­cal im­pair­ment.

THO af­fects the tem­poro­hy­oid joint be­tween the skull and the hy­oid ap­pa­ra­tus, the bony struc­ture that sup­ports the base of the tongue. Why arthri­tis forms in this lo­ca­tion is un­clear, but it may be re­lated to mid­dle ear in­fec­tions or trauma.

Early signs of THO in­clude head shak­ing and/or head tilt as the bony changes af­fect nearby nerves. If the con­di­tion be­comes se­vere enough, the horse may de­velop fa­cial or ear droop, wob­bli­ness, loss of bal­ance, ab­nor­mal eye move­ment and even the in­abil­ity to swal­low. Horses with THO may be treated med­i­cally with an­tibi­otic and anti-in­flam­ma­tory med­i­ca­tions or sur­gi­cally by re­mov­ing the cer­a­to­hy­oid bone, thus re­duc­ing stress and in­flam­ma­tion on the tem­poro­hy­oid joint.

For the Davis study, re­searchers ex­am­ined the records of all horses ad­mit­ted to the uni­ver­sity clinic with THO from 1990 to 2014. Thir­teen of the 20 horses treated only with med­i­ca­tion died or were eu­tha­na­tized be­cause of the con­di­tion. In con­trast, only two of 33 horses treated sur­gi­cally suc­cumbed. The re­searchers found no cor­re­la­tion be­tween the like­li­hood of sur­vival and the du­ra­tion of clin­i­cal signs or the na­ture of ra­dio­graphic and en­do­scopic find­ings.

The re­searchers con­clude that “prog­no­sis for horses with THO is good-to-ex­cel­lent for sur­vival with sur­gi­cal in­ter­ven­tion and fair with med­i­cal ther­apy alone.”

Ref­er­ence: “Out­come af­ter med­i­cal and sur­gi­cal in­ter­ven­tion in horses with tem­poro­hy­oid os­teoarthropa­thy,” Equine Vet­eri­nary Jour­nal, May 2017

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