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Mammals (other)
Sidewinder syndrome associated with partial rupture of the ligamentum capitis ossis femoris
  1. Ellen Paulussen1,
  2. Han Versnaeyen2,
  3. Kelly Deneut2,
  4. Koen Chiers3 and
  5. Gunther van Loon4
  1. 1 Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Biology of Large Animals, Universiteit Gent, Merelbeke, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium
  2. 2 Universiteit Gent Faculteit Diergeneeskunde, Merelbeke, Belgium
  3. 3 Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Poultry Diseases, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  4. 4 Department of Internal Medicine, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ellen Paulussen; Ellen.Paulussen{at}


A 25-year-old Welsh Cob stallion was presented with a sudden onset of abnormal hind limb gait. Being led at walk on a straight line, the hindquarters were shifted to the right and the horse was walking on three tracks. Treatment with corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs was attempted but ineffective and eventually the horse was euthanased. Postmortem examination of the coxofemoral joints revealed a bilateral degeneration of the articular cartilage of both the acetabulum and the femoral head, as well as a partial rupture of the left ligamentum capitis ossis femoris. Histological examination of this ligament showed collagen fibre fragmentation, increased proteoglycan and cellular infiltrates. The irreversible clinical signs were compatible with so-called ‘sidewinder syndrome’ and ‘crabwalking’ to the right and were associated with partial rupture of the left ligamentum capitis ossis femoris and bilateral degenerative joint disease of the coxofemoral joint, but the exact aetiology remains unknown.

  • horses
  • sidewinder syndrome
  • trendelenburg gait
  • ligamentum capitis ossis femoris
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  • Contributors EP and HV made substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data and interpretation of data. All authors participated in drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content. All authors gave final approval of the version to be submitted.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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