Im having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that my very fancy and talented 6 yr old has a fractured splint bone with a huge bump to prove it. My vet and an expert have told me he will be fine without surgery as long as it heals properly, but its HUGE! Will the bump ever go down? He is fancy, bred well and derby and high-end hunter prospect. Because he is an investment horse, would it be better off removed? Not very worried about conformation or model classes, just overall appearance and potential resell issues.
Yes, splints often go down substantially over time. You'd be surprised - while there are definitely some that remain with a bump, often they set pretty hard and cold and reduce substantially. We've used Surpass on a number of them with
As far as resale, it all depends on how they heal and return to work, but assuming they come back good as they were, I've not found it a major issue for many buyers (aside from model/conformation classes). I recently resold a youngster who had a big splint over the summer but came back good as new and it wasn't an issue. Careful rehab will be key - with my young one, we had him walking on the roads for 30 days or so after the initial inflammation came down and it both kept him sane and helped him not lose a ton of fitness.
He gets re-xrayed in about a week and we will go ahead and do an ultrasound and will know more. I just mainly fear that the pain will come back. Ive heard of horses having splints that only bother them " some days" which really urks me since this guy will be showing over the bigger stuff at least monthly. He will of course be iced regularly and wrapped even when returning to regular work, but the splint will always be in the back of my mind even years from now.
Jet had double golf ball sized splints on one front leg and a single golf ball sized one on the other as a 3 yr old, after barn help turned him out in a muddy paddock. Surprisingly, he was never off. Rested him/cold hosed for 2 weeks, then rubbed with linement and wrapped about twice a week. After a year, they were completely gone. You'd never know he ever had them, and he's never been off.
Friend's horse popped one but was off. Rested, cold hosed, and he was off after work. Vet suggested removal of splint bone to prevent susp. problems. Surgery done. When they re-xrayed 45 days later, splint bone had grown back. Another 45 days rest. Now he is sound and fine.
CCI - 2 days - 2 days!!! after I brought home my new show mare she got kicked in pasture and her lateral splint bone on her RF was fractured into a hundred little pieces! Of course we didn't know that right away because the wound just looked like a cut, but after a few days it blew up, vet treated as an infected cut, two weeks later he said "somethings weird here time for xrays" and thats when we found all the little splintered pieces of bone in there. Long story short, the bone is gone and there is a big bump left at the upper end where the top part of the splint bone was. Vet said only reason to do surgery to reduce the "bump" would be if it interfered with the suspensory. He gave me 50/50 chances on her healing sound (because her bone got infected too, spent 21 days on $30/day antibiotics, ouch!), but she did heal sound, and just has the bump. We show her sport horse in hand, and the judges have not said anything about it, or even commented on it on her score sheets.
Also vet said surgery on that part of the leg is problematic because it can be hard to hold stitches in well, horse has to stay very calm and quiet during recovery. Honestly, based on my experience, I don't think the bump will hurt you at all, and it does seem to have gone down some over the last couple of years. We do religiously wrap her legs tho for work.
I've known quite a few horses with splints, never known it to bother them. Most will go down (sometimes GONE) with time. But that time could be months, or years, so don't get your hopes up. So long as it doesn't interfere with the suspensory (most don't) it's nothing to worry about. It may be ugly or unsightly, but it's just a blemish.
I do know someone who opted for surgery (against several vets' advice); the splint bone was fractured, but several sport horse vets said to let it heal and leave it alone. Another vet clinic said they "could" do the surgery, and owner opted to do it. Well, the splint bone was removed just fine...but the horse stumbled while recovering from anesthesia and ended up chipping his knee, a much bigger problem than the original splint!
Surgery is not without risk. For something as minor as a splint, I'd avoid it unless necessary.
Do no harm... leave it unless your vet has enough info to tell you whether it is in a bad spot... near a joint or soft tissue, etc.. I have had them removed and also left them in...depends on all the factors. Blind splints are the tricky ones, in my experience.