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Fractured Femur :( Any suggestions? stories of success? anything?

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  • Fractured Femur :( Any suggestions? stories of success? anything?

    Nick's UC Davis bone scan results show a fractured femur. I haven't seen the pictures and the vet didn't use the terminology re the area just that it is an avulsion fracture and that the fractured piece of bone is attached to his gluteal muscle (I know there are a few of those too) and because of this there is no way to fix it surgically. any screws or plates would just be pulled out by this gluteal muscle.

    treatment: a year stall rest. a year. we'll check him out after 3 months but that will probably not do it.

    prognosis: he'll never work and will go back to the pasture where he was born when I first started using this forum 4 years ago.

    I still just can't believe it. Has anyone ever heard of such a case? better, has anyone ever heard of one that then miraculously cured and went on to train?

    He was only ridden maybe 10 times. I'm glad that I was at least the first one on and that he was so great for me.

    And he really did get me through some terrible times. I don't know how to let go of the idea that we will ever go on to ride and show. That this was it.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for.. i don't know. I asked the vet about massage and chiropractic and he said it's good but more because the rest of him will be sire because he's using 3/4 of his body more than the lame 1/4, not because it will actually help heal him in any way.

  • #2
    Im so sorry These decisions are never easy. Whatever you choose, it sounds like he has a very loving mom.


    • #3
      No real advice to offer - except loads of sympathy

      A major factor for me would be how well he handles stall rest - if he's decent about it, why not give it a go? he sounds like a special horse for you & as long as he's comfortable (I'd do the chiro & massage), commit to the 1st 3 months & then reassess.

      Is there any vet that is less certain of the prognosis? sounds like the horse is young & that can be a great benefit to achieving the unexpected.

      not because it will actually help heal him in any way.
      I'm not sure I'd agree with this - less pain/discomfort means less stress which means "better" healing.

      Give yourself time to consider the options.


      • #4
        If the horse is comfortable, then take it in small chunks. The first week, then the first month, then see how things are at 3 months, etc. There really are no actual "miracles" floating around, although there certainly can be miraculous-seeming outcomes. The distinction is important--one cannot create, effect, demand, manufacture, or engineer a miracle. One can simply do one's best and hope for the same.

        A young, healthy animal in optimal weight and nutrition, cared for optimally and given the benefit of vigilance, good pain control, and plenty of time--that's a recipe for the best possible outcome from a terrible injury. It may not wind up being a great outcome, but that wouldn't be because you didn't try. Good luck!
        Click here before you buy.


        • #5
          A day at a time, that's how you do it. An avulsion fracture means that only a piece of bone (how big??) was pulled away from the femur. Oddly, that was how my ACL was partially avulsed--a small piece of bone came away with the ligament, but was still partially attached. It healed itself in 8 weeks! ACL still firmly attached to femur now.

          I know that's a human, but the body, horse and human, is an amazingly adaptable creation. If the vet says stall rest, then give it a go! You might be totally thrilled at the end of 12 months!
          Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


          • Original Poster

            thanks everyone

            I do love him to death and will do whatever it takes and whatever is right for him. Small chunks sounds good. I think that's why the vet so quickly switched gears about the stall rest after telling me a year. he then said lets do 3 months and re-asses.

            he's been stall rested so much already for a young guy. He's been quarantined at Davis for lawsonia, he's had fetlock surgery, he was on total stall rest 3 months for stifle OCD. He's a mellow guy and actually can probably handle it better than most but he doesn't handle being alone. which makes sense then I think to have him either at a rehab where he has permanent neighbors or at a show barn like he is where there is activity in the aisles and other horses in stalls. At Davis, he was alone in a stall row with one friend and when they took her away he lost it and was bucking and throwing himself around the stall. I've never seen him like that.

            the vet even said JUST stall, not even his stall/paddock combo. just one or the other. ugh. It feels so unfair. I just want him sound so he can retire now, so he can just go on pasture.

            I'll get him massage and chiropractic too.

            And I don't have another opinion yet but because he was at Davis, this vet's opinion is generally a consolidation of a lot of opinions.

            I'm just still in such shock. he's family and now I am just crating him for a year so that he is healthy enough to be sent away. It's so much. we were just starting him in training this summer. I was so excited. now I don't know what to do with myself. I need something to look forward to. I wish it didn't sound so hopeless.

            Thanksgiving last year. I was so excited and man he was so smooth and just so good (just didn't understand go so much)


            He was three and a half and this was maybe his 5th or 6th time ridden. Looking at it now he really filled out since just then. Shortly after this video he came up lame on the right hind. we didn't know what it was but he'd just had such a dramatic back end growth spurt, xrays showed all joints clear, growth plates still not closed or matured or whatever so we decided just to let him be till this summer.

            and then. whammo.

            Here last week at Davis:


            he just doesn't look like a horse that couldn't even just go on pasture but I want him to heal up as best as he can. even if he'll just be a very handsome lawn ornament.


            • #7
              Wow. Poor man. How on earth did he manage that one?

              I agree with those above me...it depends on how he handles stall rest and how much pain he's in. Is the prognosis that he will be pain free, but not ridable?

              I can tell you that I had a gelding who was kicked and suffered a fracture of the scapula. He was in quite a bit of pain for probably several months, on stall rest for over 6 and when he did come back, he just was never quite the same, although he was riding sound. If I had to do it all over again, I would have euthanised him in the beginning, but I did not have the perspective to really see that at the time.

              Good luck, with whatever you choose to do.


              • Original Poster

                thanks. i am going to assume that i wont ever start him in training and that im just getting him sound so he can retire at 4 or 5 to a beautiful green pasture with his momma and two other geldings.


                • #9
                  Teach him tricks! He could be your trick horse, and learn lots of cool things. :-)
                  "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."