Identification and Management of Proximal Suspensory Desmitis in the Equine Athlete


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CE Credits: 2.4 Scientific

Injury to the proximal suspensory ligament is common in sport horses. While injury to both the forelimb and hindlimb suspensory ligament is well recognized, hindlimb proximal suspensory injury may be more common, particularly in English sport horses. Symptoms can mimic that of tarsal or carpal discomfort, and osteoarthritis of those joints may well accompany soft tissue injury and complicate diagnosis and impact prognosis. Appropriate lesion localization and early identification of suspensory ligament injury are key to management and prevention of further damage to the tissue. While MRI evaluation affords the most information about regional pathology, this imaging modality is not available or financially feasible for all clients. Thus, this discussion will emphasize obtaining and interpreting high-quality ultrasonographic images and correlating these with the history and clinical examination to achieve an accurate diagnosis. Additionally, both conservative and surgical treatment options and rehabilitation will be explored.


Bridgette Peal, DVM DACVS (Large Animal)
Dr. Bridgette Peal is originally from the suburbs of Chicago and grew up riding and showing Dressage. She attended veterinary school at Ohio State, followed by a year-long rotating internship at the Wisconsin Equine Clinic, where she refined her interests in equine surgery and sports medicine. She then spent a year as a research fellow in the Reesink Laboratory at Cornell University. During this time, Dr. Peal participated in multiple research projects investigating equine osteoarthritis and catastrophic breakdown injuries in racehorses. Her research at Cornell afforded her multiple publications, one of which earned her the One AO Award from AOVET North America in 2018 for cross-disciplinary orthopedic relevance. She completed an equine surgery residency at the North Carolina State University in 2020 and re-joined the Wisconsin Equine Clinic as an associate surgeon. She became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2021. In her free time she dotes on her retired Dressage horse and enjoys hiking with her dogs. She and her husband recently welcomed their first child in November 2022.

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