A comparative multi-site and whole-body assessment of fascia in the horse and dog: a detailed histological investigation.J Anat 2019; 235(6):1065-1077JA
Fascia in the veterinary sciences is drawing attention, such that physiotherapists and animal practitioners are now applying techniques based on the concept of fascia studies in humans. A comprehensive study of fascia is therefore needed in animals to understand the arrangement of the fascial layers in an unguligrade horse and a digitigrade dog. This study has examined the difference between the horse and the dog fascia at specific regions, in terms of histology, and has compared it with the human model. Histological examinations show that in general the fascia tissue of the horse exhibits a tight and dense composition, while in the dog it is looser and has non-dense structure. Indeed, equine fascia appears to be different from both canine fascia and the human fascia model, whilst canine fascia is very comparable to the human model. Although regional variations were observed, the superficial fascia (fascia superficialis) in the horse was found to be trilaminar in the trunk, yet multilayered in the dog. Moreover, crimping of collagen fibers was more visible in the horse than the dog. Blood vessels and nerves were present in the loose areolar tissue of the superficial and the profound compartment of hypodermis. The deep fascia (fascia profunda) in the horse was thick and tightly attached to the underlying muscle, while in the dog the deep fascia was thin and loosely attached to underlying structures. Superficial and deep fascia fused in the extremities. In conclusion, gross dissection and histology have revealed species variations that are related to the absence or presence of the superficial adipose tissue, the retinacula cutis superficialis, the localization and amount of elastic fibers, as well as the ability to slide and glide between the different layers. Further research is now needed to understand in more detail whether these differences have an influence on the biomechanics, movements and proprioception of these animals.