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Torn Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon

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  • Torn Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon

    Does anyone have any experience with a completely torn Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon? If so, did you do PRP of Stem Cell Therapy? Thanks.

  • #2
    Completely torn = surgery necessary if you want to have a reasonably functional animal.


    • #3


      • #4
        I see you posted this over under Dressage and my response below is from there...just wanted to make sure you saw it, OP:
        Hi Melissa. Yes, I have more experience with this particular injury than I'd like to have. My TB sustained a partially severed superficial flexor tendon in 2003. I decided to have it surgically repaired and although he was initially doing well out of surgery, the area soon denegrated to infection (while at the equine hospital) and the tendon upon ultrasound was showing as completely severed.

        We finally got the infection under control (which also involved his tendon sheath) with gel amikacin injected into the site of the infection. He was basically kept in a stall from mid-July 2003 to March 2004, with rehab that included lots of handwalking. He did not have a wedge at this time.

        He was finally cleared for light turnout in March, and then very light under saddle work (straight lines only) in May. He was still "off" at the trot under saddle, and although the vet said this was because adhesions were breaking near the injury site (supposedly a good thing), I had a hard time (mentally) riding a horse that was lame. Also, he didn't keep shoes very well because of that "oddity" in his gait, so trying to keep him from being foot sore was a constant struggle on top of everything.

        I finally decided to retire him as I just couldn't seem to get him 100% sound. I wish I had a better more uplifting story to tell you. I was told at the time that I was extremely lucky that he ended up as sound as he did. It is now 2013, so perhaps (or at least I hope) they've made some advances in treatment for this injury.

        eta. I can't speak to how stem cell tx might work, but I did want to speak to the cost. My horse was not insured at the time of injury, and when all was said and done, I spent over $30k to get him to the point where he was pasture sound.


        • #5
          My mare had a decent sized lesion/tear on her superficial. It was not a complete tear. It did not respond to shock wave but it did to a treatment called bone marrow aspirate concentrate which I called PRP plus poor mans stem cell. It combines PRP with some stem cells but because of how it is done there is no guarantee of the amount of stem cells. It healed well and she was approved to go back to her prior level of work (training/prelim eventing) with instructions for me to be careful about the footing I ran her in. Because of her age i did mot take her back there but there is no reason i could not have
          There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


          • #6
            I had a mare who had a severed superficial digital flexor tendon and an 80% tear of her deep digital flexor tendon. We did NOT do surgery. Nor did we do stem cell or anything like that. (This was 10 years ago so probably not as many options as there are today.)

            She spent 3 months in a Kimsey splint. Had a bar shoe with a pretty good wedge pad after that. Total recovery time was 9 months of stall rest, which included 5 1/2 months of hand walking. I followed my vet's instructions to the letter and was extremely diligent in her care. This mare also had a great attitude and has always been a "tough cookie."

            I showed the mare at a recognized dressage show 15 months after the injury, won the class with a 68% and a 7 on gaits.

            Today the mare is competing at Beginner Novice horse trials and has won several events.
            Last edited by inca; Apr. 27, 2013, 09:08 AM.


            • #7
              I'm going through the same thing at the moment.

              Mine ended up with a tendon sheath infection on top of of partial tear so he's still in the clinic.

              For mine the vets prognosis is surprisingly good. 90% chance he'll be back into work and sound providing the after care is done correctly. Up to 6 months in a box with hand walking. Then another 3 months of walking building up to an hour under saddle on a hard surface and straight lines only.

              At this stage I'm not treating with stem cell or PRP. Again vet reccomendation. But fingers crossed through the long and very slow recovery process.
              Not my circus, not my monkeys!


              • #8
                My experience is roughly the same as Inca's except it was in 1984, and there were no therapies but stall rest, cast/splint and hand walking. Horse was sound for years after.


                • #9
                  superficial digital flexor tendon tear

                  Originally posted by Melissa D. View Post
                  Does anyone have any experience with a completely torn Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon? If so, did you do PRP of Stem Cell Therapy? Thanks.
                  Hello Melissa D

                  My german riding pony did have this injury. Her tendon was split in a vertical not transverse fashion. So far we are 3 months after the injury. She walks runs and plays normally and has begun light work. Initially she was a bit stiff on that leg but now seems fine. We have lunged her lightly and just done walk trot in the indoor arena. Her original ultrasounds looked awful. We plan a repeat. We did not do any PRP or other special treatment. She was in Cornell animal hospital after the original injury and had amikacin isolated leg infusions and ultrasound. For two months she was on stall rest and hand walking and so far the vet bills are about $3000. for this injury. She is only 5 so that is probably the reason she is doing so well.