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Splint surgery & the suspensory

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  • Splint surgery & the suspensory

    I recently posted a thread about one of my young horses that fractured the splint bone, causing a huge splint. After a re-xray of the area, it has been determined that he will undergo surgery to have it removed so that it does not interfere with the suspensory ligament. As I am very disheartened, I have a few questions.

    If the splint has interfered with the suspensory, will the suspensory be damaged? This horse has been stall bound with hand walking.

    How long does it take to rehab from surgery? I hear its a simple procedure and my vet said 30 days off. However I just heard from someone else it could be 90 days.

    Obviously if there CAN be damage to the ligament, its not a pull or tear. Would it be considered a rub, or irritated? What can the rehab time be for this?

    Thanks for all input. This is truly a setback in so many ways.

  • #2
    I JUST went through this exact same thing. Horse popped a splint in March, gave him 6 weeks off. First show back in June, he shows great first week starts stopping next week (which he NEVER does!). Knew something was wrong so had splint xrayed again, sure enough there's a fracture. Horse had surgery, there were some complications regarding an infection so he ended up having to go back under to administer antiobiotics straight to the site but that was a freak thing.
    About 5 weeks later he somehow opened up the suture line, so we put him in a cast so help close up the wound. 6 months later he's going to his first show in february.
    My reason for telling you all this is not to scare you but to warn you not to rely on dates or time, your horse will tell you when he's ready to go back into work. I would safely say at least 60 days if not more. My horse's fracture was just up against the suspensory so there's was some inflammation involved, but the stall rest helped to deal w/ that. ALWAYS keep the leg wrapped until the skin is hard, that was my mistake.
    It really is a routine procedure, but crap happens


    • #3
      I have a horse that had the surgery done last summer.

      Splint popped up, immediately x-rayed and found a fracture that would not have healed well, put him in surgery the next week for removal of the lower third. Two weeks stall rest and 30 days hand-walking/limited turnout after the staples came out then back to full work. Very pleased with the result, no complications.


      • #4
        M gelding had this exact issue a few years ago. Surgically removed the splint, handwalked for 30 days, turned out for 30 days, then back to work. No complications. The suspensory was just irritated.


        • #5
          Why not ultraound now so you know the state of the suspensory before surgery?


          • Original Poster

            He will have an ultrasound next week when the machine is available. Hoping its just irritated and will heal while the bone heals in the 30 day stall rest post surgery. Suprisingly my gelding loves his stall and is fine as long as he has a small hole hay net. However I try to walk him every day IN THE RING, bc he is unpredictable otherwise, to keep his muscels and joints loose. Just hoping for the best.


            • #7
              Considering your screenname, I'm guessing you are hoping for this horse to event...

              I would encourage you to consider having the lower splint removed, provided that it is a distal fracture. Healed fractures of the splint bone that are quite large run a risk of continued suspensory irritation for the rest of the their career...they come sound, get going, get you excited about their future, and then go lame. And the cycle repeats. Now, that may not happen -- the splint may never irritate the suspensory -- but you take a gamble leaving it in, versus removing it and knowing you won't have to deal with a suspensory concern down the road.