A study of the anatomical variations of the carotid arterial tree in Equidae.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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The internal carotid artery in the horse is of significant veterinary importance due to its intimate relationship with the guttural pouch, and mycotic disease thereof. The relevance of recognising and identifying variations involving the internal carotid artery lies in the fact that surgical occlusion of the artery is the treatment of choice for guttural pouch mycosis. However, occlusion could be hampered when there is doubt about the anatomy of this vessel and its variation.
Conventional angiography and automatic rotational angiographic techniques were used to study the anatomy of the carotid trifurcation and the internal carotid artery on cadavers of three species included in the genus Equus; 50 horses, 26 donkeys and one zebra. Following angiography, arterial latex casting was performed on the horse and donkey specimens with subsequent dissection to harvest the hardened arterial casts.
Rotational angiography with 3-dimensional image reconstruction represent a major advantage in the angiographic diagnosis of carotid and cerebral vascular variation compared to conventional angiography. This technique generated superior angiographic images of the carotid and cerebral vascular system of horses, donkey and zebra.
In the horse, five variations of the internal carotid artery were identified as follows:  the internal carotid artery and occipital artery arising as a common trunk,  an aberrant branch of the internal carotid artery that unites with the basilar artery,  an aberrant branch of the internal carotid artery that does not unite with the basilar artery,  aberrant branch of the internal carotid artery that gives rise to several satellite branches,  aberrant branch of the internal carotid artery that has a satellite branch connected to the caudal branch of the ipsilateral occipital artery. Variations of the carotid arterial tree in donkeys were identified as follow:  the internal carotid and occipital arteries shared a common trunk,  the linguofacial trunk originated from the common carotid artery causing the common carotid artery to terminate as four branches,  a short external carotid artery before giving rise to the linguofacial trunk, mimicking the appearance of the common carotid artery terminating into four branches,  the internal carotid artery originating far more caudal from the common carotid artery termination. The carotid arterial anatomy of the one zebra studied here showed no discrepancy to the accepted common anatomical pattern of this structure. Aneurysm formation was not identified in any of the specimens.
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