The Harry M. Zweig Memorial Fund for Equine Research

Subtle Meniscal Injury as an Initiating Event in the Development of Subchondral Bone Cysts

Principal Investigator: Lisa Fortier
Contact Information: Email:; Phone: 607-253-3102
Project Costs: $20,459
Project Period: 1/1/2015-12/31/2015

Dr. Lisa Fortier
Dr. Lisa Fortier

Medial femoral condyle subchondral bone cysts (MFCSBC) are typically career-ending and uniformly season ending injuries in racehorses. The cysts develop from repetitive trauma and have been associated with the presence of meniscal tears. Diagnostic modalities to assess preclinical disease in the equine stifle are exceptionally limited due to the large size of the joint and surrounding muscle mass. Our current understanding of stifle joint disease is based on clinical cases where the damage present already threatens the athletic capacity and longevity of the horse. In this cadaveric study we will determine the frequency and severity of microscopic, subclinical medial meniscal tears and associated subclinical subchondral bone changes in the stifle joint of racehorses. We have acquired all specimens for this study from racehorses euthanized for reasons unrelated to hind limb lameness and from a control population of horses used for infectious disease research. We hypothesize that subclinical meniscal tears result in bone remodeling and resorption in the opposing medial femoral condyle initiating the development of MFCSBC.