Osteochondrosis arises as a result of focal failure of the blood supply to growth cartilage. The current aim was to examine the pathogenesis of pseudocysts and true cysts in subchondral bone following failure of the blood supply to the articular-epiphyseal cartilage complex in horses. Cases were recruited based on identification of lesions (n = 17) that were considered likely to progress to or to represent pseudocysts or true cysts in epiphyseal bone in histological sections and included 10 horses ranging in age from 48 days to 5 years old. Cases comprised 3 warmbloods, 3 Standardbreds, 1 Quarter horse and 1 Arabian with spontaneous lesions and 2 Fjord ponies with experimentally induced lesions. Seven lesions consisted of areas of ischemic chondronecrosis and were compatible with pseudocysts. Two lesions were located at intermediate depth in epiphyseal growth cartilage, 2 lesions were located in the ossification front, 2 lesions were located in epiphyseal bone and 1 lesion was located in the metaphyseal growth plate (physis). Ten lesions contained dilated blood vessels and were compatible with true cysts. In 2 lesions the dilated blood vessels were located within the lumina of failed cartilage canals. In the 8 remaining lesions areas of ischemic chondronecrosis were associated with granulation tissue in the subjacent bone and dilated vessels were located within this granulation tissue. Failure of the blood supply and ischemic chondronecrosis can lead to formation of pseudocysts or dilatation of blood vessels and formation of true cysts in the epiphyseal bone of horses.
- articular-epiphyseal growth cartilage
- ischemic chondronecrosis
- osseous cyst-like lesion
- subchondral bone cyst