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Elbow Joint
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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Joined: Sat Jan 21st, 2017
Location: Vancouver, USA
Posts: 1
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 Posted: Sat Jan 21st, 2017 10:42 pm
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Dr Bennett,
I am an equine body worker and therefore am always working to expand my knowledge base of equine anatomy/biomechanics.
I have recently run into a problem with what I think may be an elbow problem. In my research I've come across two different sources, both being well respected, that are apparently at odds with each other. I would like your opinion on these sources of information as I have no real experience in cadaver dissection and don't know what to think.

page 38 of the 1998 edition of James Rooney's " The Lame Horse". "The elbow joint is virtually immune from significant damage. If a horse is lame in one front leg, it quite regularly develops scoring or wear lines in the articular cartilage of the opposite elbow joint"

Sharon May-Davis research on elbow at this site states that all ridden horses develop degenerative changes within weeks of being saddled, usually asymptomatic but potentially devastating.

I am hoping that possibly you could lend some clarity to this diversity of findings.

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Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Posts: 3307
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 Posted: Sun Jan 22nd, 2017 02:32 pm
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Pam, you're putting me on the spot here by asking me to arbitrate between two other published professionals.

How about instead you begin resolving your dilemma yourself by increasing your knowledge of, and experience with, skeletal material.

I suggest three things:

First, you obtain a used copy for about $50USD of a 1940's or 1950's edition of Sisson & Grossmann's Anatomy of the Domestic Animals. This volume is compact and has beautiful images of the skeleton and joints.

Second, you betake yourself to the nearest museum of natural history. Plan on spending the day among the mounted skeletons. Bring a sketch-pad and/or a camera and sketch or photograph every elbow joint on exhibit in the museum. It does not matter which type of animal the elbow joint may belong to: comparative study is better than study of horse material alone.

While at the Museum, inquire whether they have a Discovery Room or hands-on room where the public can come and actually handle skeletal material. If they do, by all means you must avail yourself of it. The staff member will be able to provide you with at least the common stuff, i.e. cow or pig, and possibly horse. Cow is very similar to horse as to the elbow joint and you will learn much by handling the bones, hefting them, practicing articulating and disarticulating them, and examining the shapes and conditions of the articular surfaces.

Third, I suggest a broader course of reading for you, since you seem to lack confidence in discrimination. This is what broad reading is for -- to assist you in gaining perspective. Therefore, a trip to the library is in order. If you have a nearby University, even if you are not an enrolled student it is usually permitted to the general public to use the library (though usually not to check books out). You go there and you go find the section on medical books, and you plop your stuff down in a carrell and then you go ferret in the stacks for the whole day, immersing yourself in examining every book they have that illustrates anatomy or that discussed arthritis, its aetiology, diagnosis, manifestations and variations, and recommended modes of treatment.

After that, you will be able to hear both Dr. Rooney and Ms. May-Davis well enough to hear what they are really saying. Both of them, incidentally, are saying the same thing. Cheers -- Dr. Deb


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