So if you read my post on off course you will see my boy was diagnosed today with a fractured radius. He received this last Tuesday from a kick. He was weight bearing and could walk on it but was obviously very sore and lame. A lot of swelling.
Last Wednesday (day after the kick) he was walking nearly normal and the swelling had gone done a fair bit.
Vet came that day and checked him over. Because my horse was walking so comfortably (seemed virtually sound) and had improved so dramatically from the day before, he felt that it was very likely just bruising and my horse should be good to go in about 5 days. He said to cold hose/bute for a few days with stall/small turnout then try riding him Tuesday of this week.
Hopped on him Tuesday. Knee was just a touch thicker than the other. Thought he felt SLIGHTLY funny at the walk, but he was being spooky and forward from the week off so I thought that's why he felt funny. One step of trot and he was horridly lame.
Vet came out this Wednesday and x-rayed. My horse has a fractured radius. His bone is dented from the impact fracture. Luckily the vet said it didn't appear from the x-rays to go too far through the bone, though there was one line that he said COULD be something deeper but he couldn't say for sure.
My horse is on at least 6 weeks of stall/limited turn out, when footing is good and he is not allowed to play around. The vet doesn't want him iced as he wants good circulation and a touch of inflammation to help it heal (he could explain this better than I can), so really our protocol is just rest. A friend mentioned that another friend of hers had a horse that had this that, after her research, wished she had done shock wave, so I may mention that to the vet.
The vet feels, as long as my horse doesn't have a big slip or be silly and injure something further, that my horse has an excellent prognosis and should return to work as normal after this has healed. I need to hear some success stories as well as what you did treatment wise. I already read IIIbars post about her horse, and her horse's initial injury sounded and looked much worse than mine judging by the xrays and that the horse was virtually non weight bearing. Any other stories?
Also I have been thinking about bringing him to a rehab center for a month after he's healed to try to help with conditioning. Aquapacer for 2 weeks then maybe just the hot walker (equisicer) or something like that (aquapacer might me too expensive for the whole month). I called and talked to the rehab place to see if I could afford it and I think I can pull that off. Gonna talk to the vet about it and have them work together if he thinks it a good plan. Have you guys used an aquapacer (water treadmill), and how were the results? Is hot walker time helpful to conditioning? I would kinda hope to be doing some riding (depends on when we do this) if that is something that's done. Never had any of my horses on a treadmill before.
Last edited by The Alternate; Jan. 19, 2013 at 06:54 PM.
I've brought back 2 horses with major multiple, (7), spiral fracture lines but not displaced radius. One had a less than 3% survival chance and was in his 20's. With an enormous amount of tlc and living in the barn with him, I was able to not only save him, but also make some vet history good for several journal papers. He came back to foxhunting and jumping and finally died of cancer in his late 20's.
The other was a youngster, about 2 years old and a large pony colt. He was also had multiple fracture lines, not displaced radius. He also had a full recovery and went on to be a super foxhunting pony.
P.M. me if you want more details. I did a lot of inventing and most importantly worked under the guidance of one of the world experts in lameness.
A simple and incomplete transverse fracture of the radius is really quite rare. They are usually much worse, complicated, catostrophic, and often fatal.
Your horse, on the other hand, sounds to have a very straight forward bone injury. There shouldn't be any reason for complications if he is kept very quiet on stall rest. There is still the possibily of a complete and displaced fracture if he places enough force on the injury, so keeping him quiet must be of the utmost priority.
Does the vet want the leg splinted? Is the vet discouraging NSAID use? Are you wrapping the lower leg to promote general blood flow to the leg?
Do discuss shockwave. In the right situation it can promote bone healing and reduce the chance of non-union. It can also make the horse more painful and keep them off it better for that reason.
We had a horse break his radius getting cast in the stall. It was non-displaced. The vet thought as long as he was a good patient that he'd probably recover to be as sound as he was before the fracture. He did too. He was just a pasture pet at that point in his life due to a fused ankle in front and recurrent lymphangitis in a hind leg. After stall rest and small pen turnout to larger pen to small paddock to pasture, he was fine. This was quite a few years ago, but if I remember correctly he was stall bound for 2 months and then small pen turnout progressing to small paddock turnout for another month, and then finally back out in the pasture.
I had and know of a LOT of horses that have recovered just fine from all kinds of breaks, but it depends on the type of break, the severity, how quickly it was cared for, the qualityh of care the horse received, and often times, how good of a patient the horse is. Not all breaks are equal. And like flyracing said, fractures of the radius are very very rare in horses.
I would look into shockwave therapy. It's often very helpful in the case of fractures.
I would also look into Equibone supplement from TLC Animal Nutritrition in PA. There was a thread here on COTH where I described the two horses I used it on. It's in the horse care section.
I don't know much about the Aqua-Pacers outside of their use in conditioning racehorses. I would think that after stall rest and proper turnout in gradually bigger pens to paddocks, that Aqua-Pacers and European Walkers wouldn't really be needed. Just maybe start like you were starting back a horse that hadn't been ridden for the winter--longing and long reining, riding, and careful hacking. But that's just me. LOL--I've been known to not want to pay someone to do what I can easily do myself.
Thanks for the responses.
My boy is not on complete stall rest but very careful limited turn out for a few hours a day. I am gonna talk to my vet about a long acting tranq. He's a quiet horse on the ground overall but after several weeks of no work, can sometimes want to play a touch outside. Keeping him on as much turn out as we can now, along with a tranq if the vet feels it, should keep him as quiet as possible as the time goes on.
The leg is not splinted and he is not on any NSAIDS. His lower legs are not wrapped as they are staying nice and tight and he does get turn out to get the circulation going.
I am more so hoping the aquapacer will just help build condition faster so we can move a little quicker on rehab. Since this isn't a soft tissue injury we won't have to be quite so careful bringing him back into work like with a suspensory as long as the bone has totally healed.
I have to admit, I'm very surprised he's not on stall rest only at this point. Anytime we've had something with a fracture, it was ALWAYS stall rest only for 6-8 weeks. But as long as your vet is OK with that, I would guess it's alright. I, personally, wouldn't do it though with one of my horses.
Actually that looks like a very low risk fracture, so your vets plan is probably perfect a little turnout can actually keep some quieter than just stall rest.
You probably won't see any long term improvement from shockwave, but still ask about it for sure.
The aquapacer would get him fit faster and would allow him full range of motion before he would be able to on hard ground. He'll come back faster and quicker just from getting his full ROM going sooner and reduce soft tissue constriction and pain related to the trauma. I would highly recommend a month in the aquapacer. What is nice about those too, is they are above ground so he won't have to go up and down a ramp. This will allow you to start the therapy sooner.
Thanks for the replies guys. My vet is quite a pessimistic reserved vet so I can usually trust what he says as far as rest/rehab. I think I am definitely interested in looking into the aquapacer for my boy. Since I will have no to limited lesson costs this month (may jump a time or 2 on one of my trainer's horses) then no horse showing at all this spring I should easily be able to afford the aquapacer for about a month.
I can't imagine the beast I would have to deal with after 6-8 weeks of total stall rest. Yikes. Still gonna talk to my vet about a long term tranq to be safe.
Did your vet discuss with you that a fracture actually demineralizes after a trauma before it starts knitting as part of the whole process? My mare will be one year out from a fractured radius on Jan 23. The information I was given from the orthopedic surgeon at the vet school is that the fracture is actually more fragile and susceptible to further injury a few weeks out from the injury. My mare was on stall rest for 6 months, then careful handwalking only, now she is in small turnout about to graduate to a larger one. It has been a long year for us.
Thanks for your reply. No, there was no talk of demineralizing. And from the quick bit of googling I did I can't find it say anywhere about demineralizing happen when a fracture is healing. It talks about demineralized bones fracturing, and about using harvested demineralized bone to fill in fracture gaps but I haven't found anything yet about fractures demineralizing to heal/before it heals. Do you have any links I could read up on that?
So how bad was your horse's fracture? Was he weight bearing and walking on it? If not, how long did that take? Did the x-rays show what looked like a healed fracture before the vet thought it was actually healed? Do you have the x-rays on your horse I could look at?
Same thing, kicked by a pasture mate in front and just above his knee.
He was immediately lame, as in 3 legged, and was trailered to the vet hospital literally down the street. He had the Robert Jones bandage put on at the home barn for transportation. I don't know the technical term for his break but on the xray it looked like a huge potato chip was trying to break off! Gross but there it is. He was put on heavy antibiotics and probably a tranq. Surgery was not a good option because of the nature of the break. The vet said the "potato chip" would just fracture into small pieces if he tried to put screw in.
His initial diagnosis was 50/50. If he could keep calm in his stall, no rearing, bucking, spinning waving, pacing etc, the bone should heal with no problem. . He did receive some chemical help to stay calm but not ace Resurpin I think? He was also given a calcium supplement. This was 13 years ago! But he was a very good boy and stayed on all fours. Except when he would lie down for naps. Watching him get up with the big Robert Jones bandage on was heart stopping!
Anyway, he spent 3 months in his stall at the vet hospital then it was literally back to square one. Hand walking for a month or so (fun in early spring with OTTB) then slowly riding and bringing him back. Once the bone started to heal and he was doing OK I felt hope.
By the time he came back to home barn the bone was 100% healed and now it was just a matter of getting his tendons/ligaments back into shape. This, the vet told me, was harder than getting bone to heal!
It took 9 months to canter again and longer to jump. 1 1/2 year later he went to his first jumper show and I cried.
I rode him for another 12 years doing jumpers, eventing, hunter paces, trails and dressage. Retired him a year and 2 months ago and miss him so! It never bothered him again.
My advice is be cautious and go slow! Give him time to heal! And recover. They can recover amazingly well for horrendous injuries but they need a lot more time than many are willing to give.
If he was mine he would be in a stall, no grain, on a long acting sedative in a very quiet barn with company all the time. The vet hospital was very strict that it remain quiet and calm as much as possible.
When it happened all I wanted him to be was pasture sound. Everything else was a bonus. So I put aside my wants and needs for a long time. I was lucky and so was he. It took a long time but it was worth it in the end.
"You're horse is behind the vertical!"
"Of course he's behind the vertical, I haven't jumped it yet!" - NLK
"I am a sand dancer... just here for the jumps!" - Schrammo www.nshaonline.org
Thanks for your reply. Its very interesting to see all the different methods taken. I have read of people with breaks that sounded similar to your horse's and those horses were crosstied in their stalls so they could not lie down.
I am so glad to hear of recovery stories and I am so glad that every story I have read, the horses have had much worse fractures than mine has had and still recovered. That's the only reason my horse is allowed very limited turn out (for now, if he starts to get too much energy as his rest continues we may have to stall him till he totally heals but praying he keeps his head) is because his is so low risk for it to get any worse as there are no pieces off and very small shallow cracks.
there are no pieces off and very small shallow cracks.
The problem is that very small shallow cracks can spiral and splinter and become very large, deep cracks if the right force is applied. That's why so many are overly cautious re: no turnout, crossties in the stall. I'd trust your own vet who has seen the horse and the radiographs over an internet blackboard, but the reasoning above is probably why you're getting some of the responses you're getting .
Radial fractures aside, we have loved the Aquapacer for building fitness in our UL event horse, and I have seen many post-op horses stay fitter and maintain range of motion in the injured limb with it. It's something to consider down the road, if/when he's ready to go back into work.
Thanks for the reply. Yes, we are aware that there is possibilities of it going farther. That's why we are being extremely cautious with his turnout and are ready to stall him full time if he shows the slightest bit of play or the footing isn't good. I talked to my vet again about it on Monday and am continuing with the plan we had.
My vet actually said no to the aquapacer, even after it's healed. He said bones heal and strengthen to the load they are placed under, and he doesn't want the load to be less than what the horse will experience in regular life and under saddle. As well as walking on a moving surface is different than moving over a still surface. He prefers legging him up under saddle.