Insertional desmopathies of the cranial attachment of the nuchal ligament in horses – A review

Lazarczyk MJ, Michlik-Polczynska KM, Skarzynski DJ (2020): Insertional desmopathies of the cranial attachment of the nuchal ligament in horses – A review. Vet Med-Czech 65, 327–335.

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In recent years, neck pain and stiffness of the upper cervical region have become a commonly recognised cause of reduced performance in jumping and dressage in horses. One of the postulated causes of these clinical signs is the insertional desmopathy of the nuchal ligament. Its aetiology still remains unclear, chiefly due to the limitations associated with providing correct diagnoses in this region and the correct identification of the abnormalities. These lesions may be conductive to limb lameness, dental diseases and neurological changes. Considering that the resulting irreversible pathological changes present as pain and stiffness, patients are usually treated symptomatically. Insertional desmopathies of the nuchal ligament may underlie a lack of progress in training as well as stiffness and limb lameness in their broader sense. Further research is necessary to determine which lesions observed in the radiological examinations are of clinical significance.

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