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Severed Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon

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  • Severed Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon

    Does anyone have any experience with this injury???? If so, what was your treatment plan and success?? I am devastated.

  • #2
    Hi Melissa. Yes, I have more experience with this particular injury than I'd like to have. My TB sustained a partially severed superficial flexor tendon in 2003. I decided to have it surgically repaired and although he was initially doing well out of surgery, the area soon denegrated to infection (while at the equine hospital) and the tendon upon ultrasound was showing as completely severed.

    We finally got the infection under control (which also involved his tendon sheath) with gel amikacin injected into the site of the infection. He was basically kept in a stall from mid-July 2003 to March 2004, with rehab that included lots of handwalking. He did not have a wedge at this time.

    He was finally cleared for light turnout in March, and then very light under saddle work (straight lines only) in May. He was still "off" at the trot under saddle, and although the vet said this was because adhesions were breaking near the injury site (supposedly a good thing), I had a hard time (mentally) riding a horse that was lame. Also, he didn't keep shoes very well because of that "oddity" in his gait, so trying to keep him from being foot sore was a constant struggle on top of everything.

    I finally decided to retire him as I just couldn't seem to get him 100% sound. I wish I had a better more uplifting story to tell you. I was told at the time that I was extremely lucky that he ended up as sound as he did. It is now 2013, so perhaps (or at least I hope) they've made some advances in treatment for this injury.

    Comment


    • #3
      You're more likely to get responses on the Horse Care board.

      Hope things turn out well for you.
      Patience pays.

      Comment


      • #4
        Please see my response in Horse Care. I had a mare with a severed SDFT and an 80% tear of her DDFT. That was 10 years ago. Mare is now 17 and going strong - competing in Beginner Novice horse trials and has won a couple of them! Will be happy to answer any questions! It was a LONG recovery but SO worth it. I do know we had the best possible outcome and her recovery was better than anyone expected the day she was injured. However, my vet also said that most horses don't recover as well because their owners/vets don't give them the chance to recover (that is, they give up too soon or immediately accept the fact they will only be pasture sound.)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by inca View Post
          However, my vet also said that most horses don't recover as well because their owners/vets don't give them the chance to recover (that is, they give up too soon or immediately accept the fact they will only be pasture sound.)
          ^ This!

          Most owners are not as "patient compliant" as they need to be when it comes to tendon recoveries: those I've seen, want to take the horse "out of the box" too soon or are not willing to use as much medication as needed to keep horse "quiet".
          It's a long road & there are no guarantees either way, some vets would have you believe that if you'd only complete new $$$$ technologies, you'd have the recovery you want; other vets are less convinced (the data is NOT that clear cut, there are some excellent outcomes, others not so much).

          As with any procedure there is always the individual patient component, some are just metabolically "better" at healing ...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by alto View Post
            ^ This!

            Most owners are not as "patient compliant" as they need to be when it comes to tendon recoveries: those I've seen, want to take the horse "out of the box" too soon or are not willing to use as much medication as needed to keep horse "quiet".
            It's a long road & there are no guarantees either way, some vets would have you believe that if you'd only complete new $$$$ technologies, you'd have the recovery you want; other vets are less convinced (the data is NOT that clear cut, there are some excellent outcomes, others not so much).

            As with any procedure there is always the individual patient component, some are just metabolically "better" at healing ...
            Just in case there is any question, the above was NOT the case with me. I did everything in my power to slowly bring my horse back. It just simply wasn't going to happen. I would also say that dealing with a partial tear is not in the same ballpark as dealing with a full severing of the tendon.

            Comment


            • #7
              My mare had a completely severed superficial digital flexor tendon AND an 80% tear of her deep digital flexor tendon. We were not sure she was going to live at first because if she had foundered on her other hind, there would have been no choice but to put her down.

              That being said, not every case as severe as hers is going to result in a full recovery.

              I didn't mean to imply that anyone posting here did not give their horse the required time and care. Just that in my vet's experience, owners and vets tend to write a horse off with an injury like my mare's, instead of going through the VERY long and time-consuming rehab process. Not everyone can deal with a horse on stall rest for 9 months nor has the time or ability to hand walk every day for 5 or 6 months. It is a major, major commitment without a guaranteed outcome.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by inca View Post
                My mare had a completely severed superficial digital flexor tendon AND an 80% tear of her deep digital flexor tendon. We were not sure she was going to live at first because if she had foundered on her other hind, there would have been no choice but to put her down.

                That being said, not every case as severe as hers is going to result in a full recovery.

                I didn't mean to imply that anyone posting here did not give their horse the required time and care. Just that in my vet's experience, owners and vets tend to write a horse off with an injury like my mare's, instead of going through the VERY long and time-consuming rehab process. Not everyone can deal with a horse on stall rest for 9 months nor has the time or ability to hand walk every day for 5 or 6 months. It is a major, major commitment without a guaranteed outcome.
                You are right....you are INCREDIBLY LUCKY with the outcome of your horse given her injury. I'd say you're the exception rather than the rule. I think your vet is making a generalization about "non committal" owners, and as someone who did everything I could have, it is really offensive. I can rest easy saying there is literally nothing more that I could have done for my horse, including spending over $30k and 2 years of my life trying to rehab him to save him. You say you don't mean to "imply", then follow it up with a paragraph about how not every owner can go the extra mile. I'd suggest that many owners can and DO (just like you!), and unfortunately it STILL doesn't work out.

                OP, I certainly hope your specific case has as wonderful of an ending as some of the stories you read here, but I also want to caution you that I'm sure many many more folks could come on here and give you their heartbreaking tales. One of the most difficult things for me during my very long process with my horse, was realizing that it wasn't just about how his leg healed, but also how is affected him in other parts of his body....how his feet didn't grow right because he didn't walk sound....or how he would injure himself a lot afterwards because, again, he walked with an oddity and would "catch" himself. He developed arthritis in his hip from being in a stall for 8 months because of the injury, even though he was only 7 years old. I had to really adjust my expectations...from wanting him to still be my competition horse...to then hoping he'd be sound for pleasure/trails, to eventually just hoping he would be pain-free as a pasture ornament. Ironically, I posted on this BB too way back, hoping for success stories, but I got a dribbling just like you are getting...and then just needed to deal with my own reality, because every case (and horse) is so different. I am hoping that with stem cell treatment, you may have a better outcome than I did...so I am rooting for you.
                Last edited by mbamissaz; Apr. 28, 2013, 09:01 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Really, you are reading WAY TOO MUCH into what I said. You obviously did everything you could and went ABOVE AND BEYOND for your horse. I'm sorry it didn't have a good outcome.

                  My vet's comment was not directed at you or other people like you and it really was not even a criticism. It was based on the reality that not everyone can commit the time and money to a rehab that has an uncertain outcome. So, SOME people and their vets decide up front that the best outcome is pasture sound and proceed accordingly. And frankly, there is nothing wrong with that.

                  Again, NOTHING I said was directed at you or ANYONE on this thread. It was merely an observation that a vet at a very large university facility said and it was based on his experience.

                  The point I was trying to convey to the OP was don't give up hope. It can have a good outcome. (And I almost gave up several times during my mare's rehab and I know how overwhelming it can be.)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mbamissaz View Post
                    You are right....you are INCREDIBLY LUCKY with the outcome of your horse given her injury. I'd say you're the exception rather than the rule. I think your vet is making a generalization about "non committal" owners, and as someone who did everything I could have, it is really offensive. I can rest easy saying there is literally nothing more that I could have done for my horse, including spending over $30k and 2 years of my life trying to rehab him to save him. You say you don't mean to "imply", then follow it up with a paragraph about how not every owner can go the extra mile. I'd suggest that many owners can and DO (just like you!), and unfortunately it STILL doesn't work out.
                    I'm sorry that your horse did not have a better outcome.
                    I do know one person that is on year 2 of rehab & has done everything possible for her horse, unfortunately her horse is far from an ideal patient (also does not respond well to the medications currently available) & predicted successful outcome is rather less that 30% ...

                    Melissa D. best wishes for you & your horse.

                    Comment

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