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Broken splint bone. Surgery tomorrow post 14

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  • Broken splint bone. Surgery tomorrow post 14

    My horse had a pasture accident that resulted in a broken splint bone on the right hind that has pulled away from the cannon bone. The horse is a 17 yo Morgan cross that is insulin resistant and has to be on a strict diet and exercise program.
    Option A: confinement and rest for 30 days Re-check for healing. If its going well continue rest until completely healed. My vet is not optimistic about this option due to the splint bone pulling away from the cannon bone. However, if I try option A and it doesn't work I can move on to option B. The only thing lost is time.
    Option B: surgery to remove the broken piece. Will need a few weeks of stall rest to recover from surgery.

    The X-rays have been sent off to UGA and Auburn vet schools for opinions and surgery quotes.

    Any advice, handholding, etc will be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by bird4416; May. 22, 2013, 10:55 PM.
    Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

  • #2
    Oh argh. I've known a few horses who have had splint bones removed, but only front ones. All recovered very well.
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


    • #3
      Of injuries to have that is one of the best! I've known 3 horses who have had splint bones removed and all went back to jumping with no problem. Only one had any complications, and it was weird. Front splint bone removed, and when they re-Xrayed 45 days later, he was growing a new splint bone! Vet said it can happen, but is rare. Horse needed additional rest time since the new bone is fragile. Horse recovered fine and is back to full use.


      • #4
        Is it the medial or lateral one? My gelding broke his left hind lateral splint bone May 2011. My mare was being snarky and snaked her head at him, making him get out of her way, he kicked out at her as she snaked her head and his hind leg smacked into her lower incisors as the leg swung back down (saw this - only reason I know what happened).

        He was barely lame (1 out of 5 on hard surface, turning) as the lateral splint is non weight baring. My options were the same as yours - rest and wait and see if it was going to heal or do surgery and remove it.

        Now when he originally got hurt, there was just a small puncture of the skin and no reason to think otherwise. I took him down to my sports med vet in Ocala to get his suspensory and DDFT ultrasounded b/c the puncture was directly between the two. Soft tissue was perfect but thats when we found the broken splint. It had already been 4 wks and there was a callus already starting to form.

        Since my gelding had already had 2 surgeries (one for OCD lesion and another to remove a bad summer sore) and he was only just turned 4, I really didnt want to put him under again. We were just starting to pick up our work sessions so it wasnt like I needed him back u/s asap. So I opted to wait and let it heal.

        I went back 45 days later for follow up xrays and it was healing great. Waited another 3 months, had a last xray taken, soundness check and he was cleared to go back to work. He has not had an issue since. There is a tiny little lump where the callus formed. The biggest concern was worrying about the callus getting too big and rubbing on the suspensory or any other soft tissue.

        BTW I put him on magnesium (mainly to keep him chilled out on stall rest) but also b/c bones are mostly mag/calcium/phosp and I had read upping the mag can help with bone healing. I figured I would give it a try (my mare was already on mag to help settle her down) and each time I went back for a check up, my vet was really impressed at the rate in which everything was healing. I have my horses on MagRestore from Performance Equine USA (it is di mag malate).

        He went back to work the day after Tday 2011 and has been going great since and like I said, no issues at all.

        24 hours after it happened

        Picture 4 wks after injury

        This is an xray 4 wks post injury

        45 days after last xray (approx 2.5-3 months after injury)


        Picture 6 months after injury - can barely see the little lump under the skin

        3 months after last xray (6 months after injury)


        Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!


        • #5
          I'd opt for the surgery right away. Less time lost and less chance the healing bone will form a big callus and irritate the suspensory, in which case you'd likely have to have it removed surgically anyway.
          Patience pays.


          • #6
            My horse had this happen in 05. Opted for surgery which wasn't even real, major surgery. Horse was back under saddle in 6 weeks and showing again in the 4' jumpers 3 months after.
            Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
            My equine soulmate
            Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding


            • Original Poster

              Thanks for the feedback. Here is a link to the x-ray.
              Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.


              • #8
                My horse broke medial and lateral splint bones on left hind leg. Surgery was the deal. It was uncomplicated and cost me $1k at the state hospital-- quite inexpensive for a vet bill. Horse had no issues afterwards.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by bird4416 View Post
                  Thanks for the feedback. Here is a link to the x-ray.

                  Looking at this and reading your vet isnt optimistic about waiting and seeing, I would opt for surgery. I would imagine that removing that piece would be very noninvasive.

                  Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!


                  • #10
                    Mare at our barn just had the surgery, really low key and quick recovery. She was advised to do surgery b/c, like your horse, the bone was quite displaced and broken in two; the vets were concerned that if she waited instead of taking it out, it would inflame/ injure surrounding soft tissue and complicate healing. So if that's what the vet suggests and you can afford it, that's what I'd do.


                    • Original Poster

                      I'm going to do the surgery. Hope to get it scheduled soon.
                      Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.


                      • #12
                        Good luck! Im sure everything will turn out ok!

                        Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!


                        • #13
                          Good luck. One of our mares broke a hind splint open fracture. The vets were much much more concerned with that it was open then the break itself. Removed the splint bone and heavy AB's for a bit. Mare had no lasting issues.
                          "I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"


                          • Original Poster

                            I took Otto to UGA today. He is scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning. During the pre-surgery exam, they took some more x-rays. Turns out he broke both splint bones. I'm pretty sure he got injured by getting his leg stuck between a heavy steel gate and the post it closes to. The vets seem optimistic that he will recover and return to his normal life. Any and all jingles will be greatly appreciated.
                            Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.


                            • #15
                              jingling for an easy surgery and quick recovery.


                              • #16
                                Good luck! While I was at the Vet's for my horse waiting for our turn, I actually got to see this surgery done. It was done standing took about 1/2 hour. I hope that yours surgery goes as quickly, without any complications and he's back to 100% quickly.