Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Radiography, X-ray, Fetlock or Pastern

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Cost

Fetlock or pastern radiographs are a standard diagnostic used in lameness exams. The bones that make up the pastern and fetlock joints tend to be very reactive to injury. Even minor injuries tend to be visible on radiographs. The lack of soft tissue mass means that radiographic images can be very detailed, yielding very useful information.

Radiography of the pastern and fetlock is usually performed after nerve or joint blocks. Typically, in this series four to five radiographs are taken of each fetlock or pastern from different angles. The bony structures and joints are then evaluated.

Benefits

High quality radiographs of the fetlock or pastern provide valuable information regarding the bony structures within this area. Even if there are no obvious issues in this area at the time, radiographs may provide a useful baseline for future comparison.

Limitations

We are becoming increasingly aware of conditions affecting soft tissues in this area that are not captured in radiographic images.

Additional diagnostics that are better able to visualize soft tissue injuries or abnormalities may be necessary.

Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

QUESTIONS TO ASK MY VET

  • Will these radiographs change the treatment you will perform today?
  • Will the results alter the prognosis?
  • How much will the radiographs cost?
  • I have old radiographs, can we look at those instead or in combination with these?
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