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Horse Neck Fracture... Any experience?

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  • Horse Neck Fracture... Any experience?

    Long story short, a friend of mine's horse had the seizure back in February from getting an injection of sedative in his artery. When this happened he fractured his neck between C2 and C3. The fracture is completly healed and is totally sound. However, he does cock his head and bob his head sometimes. The vet said this is due to the calcification that has formed in a "bird's beak" from the fracture, causing him some discomfort when he is in a prelim/intermediate dressage frame since the fracture was close to his poll and he has to flex more there. The vet has told her that when he shows discomfort to just give him a gram of bute. Anyone else have a horse that this has happened to? Any suggestions for pain management?
    Last edited by Trak_Eventer; Dec. 21, 2009, 07:05 PM.

  • #2
    My horse's fracture is around C5-C7.
    It's been injected.
    Poor grey horse! lol. he gets himself into issues.

    He does bob his head when hitting the 10m trot circle in the Prelim test. But his right SI is janked as well.
    I have to trick ride him in the 10m trot circle. Especially when infront of the judge where I can't drift out to a 12m circle.
    I've never gotten a bad comment but I do recieve a lower score on that move because I let him go low with his poll and neck.

    Other than that I have no issues with it.

    Collection is with the butt and shoulder. I would think that the lower Cs would be more of an issue than the higher Cs.

    But really, if you have a great jumper I would just ride the dressage with a lower frame and take the hit.
    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


    • #3
      I had a horse with a high neck fracture, involved 3 vertabrae I believe (sorry can't remember the numbers, but a milogram was done around his poll). My trainer bought him as a 2 year old, trainer evented him through training and dressage through 3rd, she gave him to me as a 6 year old and I evented through one-star placing 2nd then 1st, and ran 3 seasons of prelim on him in addition to showing through 4th level dressage. Never knew there was a problem! I gave him back to my trainer when he was 12 to use as a school horse and not 3 months later we found him completely ataxic in his paddock. 2 months at the vet hospital in a sling and it turns out he had done the fractures as a foal and that most likely he shook his head wrong that night and displaced something. We never got him back 100% but did get him back to rideable (although oddly moving) and he made it almost 5 more years before we lost him due to the ring and sidebone that developed from the compensated gait he had.


      • #4
        Wow, really interesting story.


        • Original Poster

          Those who have had horses with a fracture, what have you done to help them out? I know injections were mentioned. What about shockwave or mesotherapy? Has to be something besides bute that will relieve some discomfort. I mean, he is not in serious pain, went around prelim all season and did an intermediate this fall, but I know my friend would like to help him out as much as possible to make him comfortable.


          • #6

            wow.... way to similar to what i have just been threw!
            One of our race fillies came back from the track just not right, had a bone scan done and nothing major turned up (just normal race horse issues...) an x-ray of her neck showed some arthritic changes in C-6/C-7. we decided to inject. I was then pondering my event mare, as a 2 yr old she had been slightly nuro and had neck x-rayed had a scary spot but no issue at the time, they just said it could possibly need to be injected in the future..... i had not had her looked at since then (about 3.5 yrs) and got to wondering if her dislike of dressage could be this issue- well.... a picture is worth a thousand words!! the old issue had resolved, and the only issues on xray now are an old fracture in C-6 AND some bone changes at her poll (it looks like she is growing horns!!) it seems that the ligament that holds her head up goes right over this point and when she is asked for an "on the bit" position it causes the ligament to get grated across the rough bone!!
            Poor thing!!! I feel horrible!!!! She LOVES to go with her head down and will carry it off to the side also, she kicks butt jumping and has done very well but i kept her at BN most of this year because of the dressage! it must have felt like torture to her being in the ring all those days
            Anyway, we shockwaved and are hoping for the best- but i will NEVER ask her to to on the bit again!!!! I am thinking of having my other horse looked at, maybe an issue i dont know about
            good luck with your horse!!!!!!
            owner and friend of members of the Limping And Majestic Equine Society.


            • #7
              one person I know actually used a Tildren treatment for the lower C section.

              Actually, it is thought that MANY horses have slight fractures in their vertebrae from learning to tie as babies.
              They fracture them when they pull/sit back.

              My grey horse doesn't tie. I tried for 4 years. He just doesn't tie. Then one day he moved my 3K lbs steel trailer. (with a leather halter on!)
              You win. I now use those stupid tie rings.
              Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


              • #8
                My daughters horse has a fracture. He came with it, must have happened when he was being prepared for the track. He does hold his head funny when trying to look a certain direction because of the fusing. One of his ears is permanently off looking because of it. Fortunately it does not interfere with dressage movements or jumping. He has successfully gone prelim but is older now so won't go higher. I will let her know of this thread so she can give more info as I don't remember what vertebrae etc.


                • #9
                  I had a young horse that had fractured his atlas (if you go to http://forestrygal.tripod.com/skeleton.html and go down to skeleton picture it is the number 2) he cocked his head all the way to one side. With TONS of massage, limbering work, and some chiro he eventually was able to bend, flex, and have no problems in any frame. His neck was so bad it buldged to one side. The thing that really helped was I took a neck massager and just did his neck for extended periods of time around the bulging area. The thing that was causing the problems was not the fracture, but the way his muscles ended up do to him tilting his head all the time. In the end he was 100%


                  • #10
                    I had a horse hit in the head by a car. He seemed to recover and do fine for about 3 years; This summer we xrayed and found 4 old fractures. Holy Crap! We almost ended up putting him down but used steroids to alleviate the pain.
                    I think the neck massager is a good idea for him. We think nerve bone and muscle are involved.
                    I can't believe some of these success stories!


                    • #11
                      Far as pain management...look into other, newer NSAIDs. I have been using the Previcox for several months now on an old, arthrtic type.

                      Easier on the tummy and they don't seem to need it as often-twice a week for mine when the bute was every other day.

                      You may want to reassess your goals with this one as well. There are some things he is just not going to be able to do easily.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                      • #12
                        Son's horse attempted break dancing in the pasture about 14 months ago and chipped the transverse process of C3. His damage was more soft tissue and we employed vet with appropriate drugs (anti-inflammatories etc.) massage therapy, the wierd body guy and the chiropractor, ice therapy. . . he made a successful return to competition 6 months later (intermediate).