Next Article in Journal
Effects of Pre-Cooling on Thermophysiological Responses in Elite Eventing Horses
Previous Article in Journal
An Updated Review of Toxicity Effect of the Rare Earth Elements (REEs) on Aquatic Organisms
Open AccessArticle

Prevalence and Distribution of Lesions in the Nasal Bones and Mandibles of a Sample of 144 Riding Horses

1
Departamento de Etología, Fauna Silvestre y Animales de Laboratorio, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Av. Universidad 3000, Circuito Interior, Delegación Coyoacán, México D.F. 04510, Mexico
2
Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, El Cerrillo Piedras Blancas, Toluca 50295, Estado de México, Mexico
3
Veterinary Imaging Associates, 52-56 Atchison St, St Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia
4
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, 1365 Gortner Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA
5
Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1661; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091661
Received: 10 August 2020 / Revised: 11 September 2020 / Accepted: 14 September 2020 / Published: 16 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse-Human Interactions and Their Implication for Equine Welfare)
The use of restrictive nosebands in equestrian sports is of increasing concern to veterinarians and equitation scientists. Tightly fitting (restrictive) nosebands are primarily used to keep the horse’s mouth closed in a bid to increase the rider’s control of the horse and avoid penalties that may arise from mouth opening during competitions. The chief concern is that restricting behaviour by tightening the noseband may cause distress and apply pressure to the tissues of the horse’s head. It has been suggested that this pressure may cause injury to the soft tissues of the face and possibly the underlying bones. This opportunistic study of mature cavalry horses (n = 144) was designed to explore relationships between visual and palpable damage to structures that underlie the nosebands of horses and any related bony changes in affected horses, as evidenced by radiography. For nasal bones, the radiologists reported bone deposition in at least 6.9% of the horses and bone thinning in at least 33.3% of the horses, respectively. By palpation, at least 82% of the horses had palpable bone deposition of the nasal bones and at least 32% had palpable bone thinning. For the lower jaw, the radiologists reported increased bone deposition in 18.8–32.6% of the horses but no bone thinning. By palpation, at least 30.67% of the horses had palpable bone deposition in the lower jaw and at least 10.4% had palpable bone thinning. These radiographic results suggest that bone thinning is more apparent in the nasal bones than in the lower jaw and that both palpable and radiographic bone deposition are more likely in the mandible than in the nasal bones. This is the first confirmation of bony lesions at the site typically subjected to pressure from restrictive nosebands. That said, we note that the current study provides no evidence of a causal link between any piece of gear or its putative tightness and the lesions in these anatomical locations. The causes of these palpable and radiographic changes at the site of nosebands merit further investigation because inadvertently damaging the bones of horses as part of equitation is difficult to justify on ethical grounds.
Restrictive nosebands are used in equestrian sports to hold the bit in place and reduce mouth-opening, a response that can attract penalties in some sports and is thought to reduce the rider’s control of the horse. Sustained pressure from such tightly fitted (restrictive) nosebands denies normal behaviour and thus, causes frustration and distress that can jeopardise horse welfare. It also may push the cheek against the molar teeth, compress soft tissues including blood vessels and nerves, and possibly induce chronic changes to underlying bone. This study of mature cavalry horses (n = 144) was designed to explore relationships between visual and palpable damage to structures that underlie the nosebands of horses and any related bony changes in those horses as evidenced by radiography. Working independently of each other, two researchers inspected the horses for visual changes and palpable changes before the horses were radiographed. The radiographs were assessed by a separate pair of veterinary radiologists, again working independently of each other. Among the current population of horses, 37.5% had one or more radiographic changes to the nasal bones according to both radiologists, and 13.8% had one or more radiographic changes to the mandible. For nasal bones, the two radiologists reported bone deposition in 6.9% and 8.3% of the horses and bone thinning in 33.3% and 56.9% of the horses, respectively. By palpation, they found that 82% and 84% of the horses had palpable bone deposition of the nasal bones and 32% and 33.4% had palpable bone thinning. For the mandibles, the radiologists reported increased bone deposition in 18.8% and 32.6% of the horses but no bone thinning. By palpation, the two examiners reported 30.6% and 32.7% of the horses had palpable bone deposition and 10.4% and 11.1% had palpable bone thinning. This is the first report of lesions to the mandible at this site and this article presents the first confirmation of bony lesions at the site typically subjected to pressure from restrictive nosebands. These results suggest that radiographic bone thinning is more apparent in the nasal bones of riding horses than in the mandible and that both palpable and radiographic bone deposition are more likely in the mandible than in the nasal bones. That said, we note that the current study provides no evidence of a causal link between any piece of gear or its putative tightness and the lesions in these anatomical locations. Further studies are needed to identify risk factors for these clusters of lesions. The inadvertent deformation of bones in the horse’s head for competitive advantage is difficult to justify on ethical grounds. View Full-Text
Keywords: equitation science; welfare; radiology; nosebands; lesion equitation science; welfare; radiology; nosebands; lesion
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Pérez-Manrique, L.; León-Pérez, K.; Zamora-Sánchez, E.; Davies, S.; Ober, C.; Wilson, B.; McGreevy, P. Prevalence and Distribution of Lesions in the Nasal Bones and Mandibles of a Sample of 144 Riding Horses. Animals 2020, 10, 1661.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop