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Fractured Pelvis

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  • Fractured Pelvis

    Does anyone have any stories on how they treated their horses pelvic fracture and outcomes. Did your horse return to full function? My poor boy is a 3'6 hunter and I am wondering what to expect of him in future. What is reasonable in terms of expectation for him?

  • #2
    I think it depends on the fracture. I know there was a thread on this sorta recently as I posted my experience on it. You might want to try and search.

    Anyway, the only experience I had was not my horse, but a friend's. She ended up being put down. She fractured near the socket (?) and after a few days at the vet hospital was declining and in much pain, even with heavy duty drugs.

    Hope your boy's prognosis is better.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Personal Champ View Post

      Anyway, the only experience I had was not my horse, but a friend's. She ended up being put down. She fractured near the socket (?) and after a few days at the vet hospital was declining and in much pain, even with heavy duty drugs.

      Hope your boy's prognosis is better.
      This. My trainer's mare fractured her pelvis several years ago. After 24 hours of intensive vet care and a second opinion, my trainer decided the most humane thing to do was to euthanize. Very sad. Good luck to you and your horse...so sorry.
      JB-Infinity Farm


      • Original Poster

        I am scared to death on this one. I am told location makes all the difference in terms of outcome so praying the bone scan shows us a good location.


        • #5
          So sorry to hear of your horses injury. Unfortunately I can't add anything positive. We had two horses in the last two years at my barn have a fractured pelvis. Both were euthanized. Whether or not they can manage the pain in REALLY crucial.


          • #6
            Oh hit enter too soon.

            Sending big Jingles from Ca for your boy!


            • #7
              A fractured pelvis is nothing like a broken “socket” where the femur which has a “ball” at the top end at a right angle connects with the pelvis. In a human it is the upper bone of your leg, also called the femur, the largest bone in the body. The front legs of a horse are more akin to a humans arms. Given the fact a horse can not take the weight off of this joint to heal the “prognosis is grim”.
              A fractured pelvis in an entirely different thing, depending on the fracture. By and large they heal just fine and they horse will be “no worse for wear”. How ever it can be difficult to diagnosis exactly where without spending $$$ for something like an MRI or a Nuclear Scan. Internal palpation, IMO is only of value based on the Vets expertise and experience, will give a reasonable idea. The most cost effective is ultra-sound. Again only if it is the Vets “area of expertise”. Blatant cases an exception. We had to deal with 2 in recent years. My wife’s hunter, TB, did his in turned out with his friends in a large paddock, (confirmed). And it took several days before we called the Vet in. The other one, a TB going to the track, I am not quite sure, she went out of our care, long story, (unconfirmed, maybe fractured, or pulled muscles, 2 Vets thought the latter). Sometimes it can be a “pulled” group of muscles in the hind end. If palping and ultra-sound is not conclusive you will have to spend $$$ to get a definitive answer. But the “therapy” and turn around is the same for both. So, if the horse is reasonable comfortable standing on 4 legs your are only looking at complete stall rest and then limited turn out. Six month to a year before being able to put back into work. My wife’s hunter has been back hunting with Cheshire like a champ, and our racehorse who had never started before it happened went on to win around $50,000 and is an excellent jumper now.

              Of course this is all based on my opinion and limited direct experience and conversations with several Vets.
              Last edited by gumtree; Aug. 2, 2012, 11:16 PM.


              • #8
                I had a horse who fractured her pelvis as a 3yo.... she had a secondary ligament injury in the left hind. I am not sure exactly what the treatment was or the exact outcome. However, before I acquired this mare she had 5 foals. All no problem. I got one more out of her. She would run and buck and play, but had a "mechanical" lameness. It never seemed like she would get stiff or show any obvious signs of being in pain from the old fracture, the ligament injury was more of a problem honestly. After she would run around like crazy, she'd normally be a little sore on the old ligament injury. During the later part of her pregnancy she had a hard time, definitely more sore just everywhere.... I made the decision that would be her last foal. Unfortunately she colicked about a month post foaling, and I felt due to the previous injuries, it wouldn't be fair to put her through surgery and recovery.

                I think it really depends, this mare seemed to be happy as a clam until the other injury flaired up, she was my most active mare... and frequently performed airs above the ground She seemed to do equally as well in a pasture with steep hills, as on flat ground. She got up and down no problem, etc... it was just a mechanical thing, and she had a divot on one side of her hips.
                Making Your Ambitions a Reality at Secret Ambition Stables.
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                • #9
                  There are a at least a couple of really nice racehorses that were very successful after fracturing their pelvis bens cat and well armed ( I think, nay have the wrong horse) but both were multiple stakes winners.

                  My boss had a filly that fractured in a race, went through a long miserable rehab and then had to be euthd because she didn't heal properly. So really it all depends.

                  Jingles for your guy, it really just depends.


                  • Original Poster

                    Glad to hear of some happy cases but it still sounds grim. Gumtree he is booked for the bone scan in Sept. It may be cancelled and moved based on a availibility of isotobes in that week. They go to humans first before the Vet teaching hospital gets them. In the mean time he is on "stall and pasture rest" (in a small paddock). He is minimally lame at walk (1/5) and trot on circle (2/5) but all heck breaks loose at canter (it was awful to see). He is 4/5 on flexion with tembling while being flexed. He is worse on the right and rests that foot a lot but can and will rest the other foot without too much apparent discomfort. He is being co operative in staying quiet but that has more to do with pain I think. He has lost a lot of weight and muscle tone. The good news is he is still pleasent and alert and interested in what goes on around him. I am hoping we get good info from the scan. The thought of EPM has been discussed and blood is being tested so a spinal tap may need to be done too. His neurological workup indicates that it less likely to be neuro but it is on the table. That doesn't sound any less grim that I can see.
                    Last edited by mostlynothing; Aug. 3, 2012, 05:17 PM.


                    • #11
                      We have a yearling filly first diagosed as "a hip down" . she has been in since we discovered it two months ago. Now the deformity is extreme....the affected hip is a good ten inches below the other, and the spine is now arching up. The other hind quarter is very flat appearing on the side from behind and she swings that leg well in under her., She is able to walk well and trot...but prefers to canter three legged. I am loathe to euth any horse if there is any chance that she could be comfortable some time in the future, even if just to live in the field with the mares. But if she is going to continue to deform I should let her go. Hard decision.
                      "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt


                      • #12
                        I have a 19 year old who fractured her pelvis sometime before I got her and before she was raced. She doesn't have a tattoo. I don't know anything about the injury, it could have happened during training or before, but I did contact the person who owned her when she was five. That owner said she couldn't remember how it happened, but it happened before she bought the mare and it was some kind of freak accident. She got one foal out of her and then bred her again and sold her at Keeneland for $57,000. Besides being an amount that impresses me, it illustrates that a horse with a broken pelvis can have value. She has had seven foals total, all live births. All of them went on to race.

                        She has a lack of muscle on one side and a pronounced point at the top of the pelvis. Her spine looks a little roached at the point of hip. She walks funny but fast, and has a beautiful, floaty trot. Plays, eats well, doesn't seem to be in any pain. Lately she's a little more awkward in the hind end and is not turning as well or backing up well. She can do it but looks awkward and clumsy when she does.

                        The other day she came up dramatically lame behind and I thought she had broken it (her pelvis) again. I was so worried and feared the worst. The vet's test of her hoof was inconclusive so he numbed the foot, watched her walk, and diagnosed it as a probable deep abscess, and said he wanted to give it a few days to see it was indeed an abscess before doing X-rays. Now it is better, almost completely, and I feel a little foolish for calling him -- well, not for calling, but for imagining such a dramatic problem. I was reading everything I could about injuries and came across your thread.

                        I know how bad it can look, but the research I did said that in most cases the pelvic fracture heals without incident and that often the horse goes back to full function and use. It just depends on where the bone breaks and how bad the break is. I think it's worse if it is closer to the hip socket. Please keep us posted on your gelding's progress. I wish you the best.
                        "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina


                        • Original Poster

                          Petey Pie thank you.....I am trying hard to remain positive but get more and more worried with the wait for scan and the lack of improvement. He is a wonderful special horse and whatever needs to be done will be done. If he needs to stand around for a year or more than so be it. The vet said location of fracture means everything. It is not in the arch as confirmed by rectal so it is further back. As you say if near the socket the outcome is very not good....pain will be constant and it will worsen over time. Elsewhere and outcome could be a positive one with a funny looking rear end. She said he could be functional enough to go back to 3`6 but not be a GP horse (so not our goal!!!) It is such a worry and it bothers me a lot not being able to do anything thta might improve his situation. He is still happy seeming and pleasent.


                          • #14
                            Known 2 of them, one was a Jr Hunter. Maybe 8 or 10 years ago. Both were sort of on and off with hind end issues that would disappear for months and then show as NQR or outright soreness then go away.

                            As diagnostics improved they both went to a state of the art clinic and were found to have old fractures in the pelvis. One, the Jr Hunter, was able to return to work (as a <1.2m Jumper) on a limited basis after over a year of rest and 6 months of rehab. The other was retired. I don't know where either of them are today, lost touch.

                            It is all going to depend on location but you will be looking at a substantial amount of downtime to heal it. We will hope for the best for you and your poor horse.
                            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                            • Original Poster

                              Thank you Findeight. Significant down time is manageable. My fear is if I have to decide to put him down for his own comfort or that he is always NQR. He is a horse I bred myself and he's been a bit of a horse of a life time so lots of emotion involved in all of this. I try to be clear headed and as imformed as possible on the situation but it is hard to not be emotional too. Horses can bring such heart break.