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Complete Lateral Collateral Ligament Rupture and More

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  • Complete Lateral Collateral Ligament Rupture and More

    Hello all,
    I know there's been a lot of collateral ligament posts but my horse's is a bit different than those I've read about and I really could use some ideas.

    My 9 yr old TB has a complete (grade 4) LCL rupture and torn extensor tendon. He also has completely destroyed the collateral cartilage and subluxated the coffin joint. This was all diagnosed by MRI. You'd think (and the vets thought) that he'd be almost non-weight bearing based on his scans, but he isn't. He's lame at the walk but not significantly. He's bearing weight almost evenly on both fronts and is bright and alert. Eating well and seems otherwise happy.
    I know there's little to no hope of this horse going back to work. He's been given a poor prognosis of even being sound for light trail riding. Fortunately, he is insured so we've done stem cells and corrective shoeing. My dilemma now is that it seems that he is going to be stuck in a stall for the foreseeable future and I'm not sure if it makes sense to keep him locked up for months on end if there's little hope he'll even be a pasture ornament. My vet recommended he be on strict stall rest (12x12, no run) for ~8 months with handwalking only allowed after 4-6 months. This horse has been through two other rehabs and I just can't lock him up like that again so I have him in a 12x12 stall at night with a dutch door and then we let him out into a 12 x24 run during the day. He seems happy with this arrangement and has been much less frustrated than during his previous stall rest periods. I know this isn't ideal from the standpoint of healing the LCL, but I'm making a trade off for his mental health and mine.

    Has anyone had a horse that had a similar injury? I know a lot of collateral ligament horses can come back to work, but my vet keeps stressing to me that my horse has no intact supporting structures on the lateral side of his foot and therefore has a much worse prognosis. It's been about 3 months since the original injury now though and I'm starting to think maybe I'm just prolonging this for no reason. I really love this horse and if he could be happy and comfortable living his life out as a pasture puff, I would keep going. I just don't know if it's worth it to him if he has to stay confined for a year to get to that point.

    Thanks for any thoughts.

  • #2
    Yikes! That sounds awful, and I'm sorry for you guys!!

    Was there any discussion on doing an arthrodesis thorugh whichever joints he needs to permanently stabilize the joints? I have seen an arthrodesis through the DIP, PIP and MCP all at once to keep a breeding stallion serviceable. A few years later he is stiff, of course, but pasture and breeding sound. I believe the layup after surgery is much shorter than layup without (2-3 months vs. 6-8).


    • Original Poster

      Thanks for your response. We didn't talk much about it, but my vet did mention that the coffin joint wasn't one that could fuse well because it's such a high motion joint. It might be a good question to bring up again though. I don't care if he's ugly to look at or moves funny as long as he's happy and can wander around a pasture.


      • #4
        My vets don't push total stall rest anymore. Seen more damaging explosions from going "mental". You know your horse and a mentally happy horse is going to heal better than a stressed suicidal one for sure. Maybe for a month, especially after any serious surgery/injury, but otherwise go with what you are comfortable with.


        • #5
          Originally posted by candico View Post
          My vets don't push total stall rest anymore. Seen more damaging explosions from going "mental". You know your horse and a mentally happy horse is going to heal better than a stressed suicidal one for sure. Maybe for a month, especially after any serious surgery/injury, but otherwise go with what you are comfortable with.
          I think that's accurate for a lot of soft tissue injuries, however when you have a complete rupture, the reason absolute stall rest is advised is because of the joints instability due to no lateral support.

          I believe the main issue with the CL rupture is the horse will develop ringbone from the damage the joint receives while that CL is not there supporting it. So, the tendons & ligaments heal over time, but the ringbone that develops can be very debilitating - and therefore the lack of a good prognosis for returning to previous level of work.

          OP - this is a tough injury. Wishing you the best!


          • #6
            I wonder if casting the foot would help. Low ringbone will a consequence, so the less movement the better.


            • #7
              Lateral Collateral Ligament Rupture - Any Advice?

              Hi. This is a message for Mightyarrow if you are still on these forums? I hope so

              I have a mare who has suffered a near complete rupture of the lateral collateral ligament of her rear fetlock, shearing it out with 2 avulsion fractures of the P1 bone. I have been told a year of box rest with no hope for return to athletic soundness. "Fair" prospect of being a paddock ornament. She has been in since 6 Jan when this happened. I'm distraught. She is starting to get cross being locked up as spring gets underway. She is coping well, probably better than me, but the farrier did a proper cut/rasp of her feet last week and her leg swelled up just as bad as when this first happened. She has had two MRI scans, 6 weeks apart, with the results of the second being that it "had not got worse". To me that means it had not started to heal either but then I know the scan is not designed to give me good news. I woud appreciate any info you may have. What happened to your horse? Did he get Field sound? I'd be grateful if you have any words of wisdom. I feel bad locking her up and don't know whether I am being cruel to her to be kind to me because I don't want to lose her.


              • #8
                PM beowulf...she has some experience with this, unfortunately.
                "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville


                • #9
                  Hi. Thanks for replying. New to this - not sure how to PM? Is that private msg? Will she see this? Thanks!


                  • #10
                    Yes, private message -- she'll get a notification when she next logs in and can answer back. If you go up to the blue bar up at the top of this thread, and click on "member list," there is search function on the right. Type in beowulf, and when you click on her, there will be a little envelope icon which will allow you to send a private message.
                    The big man -- my lost prince

                    The little brother, now my main man


                    • #11
                      I read this and saw my name...

                      I'll send you a PM
                      AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012