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Tendon Nicked - Danger of Rupture?

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  • Tendon Nicked - Danger of Rupture?

    My beautiful mare jumped/crashed through a metal gate today in an apparent conflict with a pasture mate and cut herself up pretty badly, with one laceration on the back of a hind leg needing sutures. My heart sunk when the vet said she had nicked the tendon. She's on complete stall rest for a minimum of two weeks and then the vet is coming out to reassess her.

    Unfortunately before I got there someone had caught her and put her back in the field, so she ran around a bit more after her injury but she was grazing calmly when I found her and she walked sound as I brought her back to the barn.

    The vet said the biggest danger now is that the tendon could rupture and that it sometimes happens that things seem to be going well and then suddenly five or so days after the injury, a rupture can happen.

    Has anyone had this happen? My vet tends to be a pessimist and always gives the worst case scenario so I'm not sure whether I should be lying awake at night worrying or feel confident because we caught this right away. How long should I expect it'll be before she can get back to her job as a show hunter? Are there long-term implications that I should be concerned about?

    I'm so completely bummed. She's been going really well. I just recently moved her to this farm and after just two weeks she really seemed to have blossomed. Her attitude has been great. She put on weight and her feet are looking better. We were very conservative about introducing her to the other horses in her pasture and everyone seemed to be getting along fine. I certainly can understand why some people prefer individual turn-out.

  • #2
    Well I can't speak about the chance of rupture but I can tell you that any injury to the tendon or tendon sheath carries a very high risk of systemic infection. I hope you have your horse on some really strong antibiotics.. If this was my horse, I'd have it at a major clinic or vet school. It sounds very serious.

    Jingles for your mare. I hope she heals up fast and sound for you but don't underestimate the seriousness of the injury...and I think you need to address the risk of infection asap.

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
      Well I can't speak about the chance of rupture but I can tell you that any injury to the tendon or tendon sheath carries a very high risk of systemic infection. I hope you have your horse on some really strong antibiotics.. If this was my horse, I'd have it at a major clinic or vet school. It sounds very serious.

      Jingles for your mare. I hope she heals up fast and sound for you but don't underestimate the seriousness of the injury...and I think you need to address the risk of infection asap.
      She is on antibiotics. The vet gave her 3 grams of gentamecin IV and I gave her a packet this evening with 67 mg of trimethoprim and 333 mg sulfadiazine. She's to get that once daily.

      My vet is pretty conservative and errs on the side of caution, and I have often seen her refer horses to clinics, so I am pretty confident that she would have suggested this if there were any question. Also, our follow-up appointment is not for two weeks.

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      • #4
        Thank Goodness that the vet has her on antibiotics. :-) Whew..you did not mention it in your first post and I was worried! Really watch her for signs of infection for a while. I've been down that path and it's very worrisome.

        I would do exactly as you have been told to...and give her a lot of time off....possibly more than recommended and a slow return to work. Serious tendon injuries can take 6 to 12 months to really heal fully and I'd nut rush her back to work. I'd think if the tendon has not been fully severed and only "nicked" you'd stand a pretty good chance for her to be sound long term....but I'm not a vet and can't pretend to give as good advice as your vet has. That is just my experience so far.

        Sorry to hear she was hurt in turnout. I nearly lost a filly this summer that somehow cut into her joint capsule in her fetlock. The filly lives out and the wound was so tiny (on a black leg) that we did not find it until she was three legged lame a day or two after it happened. She had a severe systemic infection by that point and spent a few days at Woodside and then a month in a stall. She did not injure her tendon lucky for us. The filly (two years old) has returned to full soundness and other than a blemish on her cannon where they did a bone infusion of antibiotics, she is just like her old self.

        Again, best of luck with her.

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        • #5
          My filly cut herself pretty badly about 4 months ago, on who knows what. She's accident-prone. She nicked the tendon right near the heel bulbs. My vet didn't mention the risk of rupture, but she was on two different courses of antibiotics because the hoof kept abscessing. She was briefly 3-legged lame during one abscess. She is totally sound now.

          Mine will get more than a year off just due to her age, so hopefully there are no long-term soundness issues.

          Good luck, I know what you're going through. It took 2 months for my filly to heal up, and I was worried about her the entire time. I still am.

          Comment


          • #6
            You'd have to define what "nicked" meant. A tear or rupture in the tendon sheath, although it's bad, would probably not significantly weaken the tendon itself short-term. An actual tear of the fibers of the tendon is another matter, though.
            Click here before you buy.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by deltawave View Post
              You'd have to define what "nicked" meant. A tear or rupture in the tendon sheath, although it's bad, would probably not significantly weaken the tendon itself short-term. An actual tear of the fibers of the tendon is another matter, though.
              "Nicked" is the verbiage that the vet used, so I am not certain exactly what she meant, though she did not indicate that the tendon was torn and my mare was walking sound on it.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm sure the vet could give you more information if there was an ultrasound, etc. Sometimes layman's terms are entirely too vague. I'd ask--how much of the tendon is torn? Is it just the sheath or the tendon itself?
                Click here before you buy.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                  I'm sure the vet could give you more information if there was an ultrasound, etc. Sometimes layman's terms are entirely too vague. I'd ask--how much of the tendon is torn? Is it just the sheath or the tendon itself?

                  I called the vet today to ask her to do an ultrasound when she takes the stitches out in two weeks and she agreed that it would be a good idea. I also asked her if the nick was only in the sheath or if it was in the tendon itself and unfortunately she said the tendon.

                  The good news is that when I changed her wraps today there was almost no drainage (just a little bloody discharge on the gauze pad), very little swelling, and just a little heat. Also, she's putting weight on the leg and so far she's dealing well with stall confinement.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We had a few years ago a horse get a puncture wound right over his ankle on the back of the right front, into his tendon.
                    It didn't even go in much, but he got an infection and all kinds of therapies, including antibiotics right thru a blood vessel in the lower leg didn't stop it.

                    With that kind of injury, after what we went thru, I would have the horse at the vets with very aggressive theraphy.
                    Then, your vet knows all that and I am sure maybe it is not as serious as it sounds, from what he found on examination.

                    I agree, infection is your enemy there.
                    Maybe your horse will be lucky and if there is any bacteria in there, it will be sensitive to the antibiotic used.

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                    • #11
                      Jingles for your mare.
                      Click here before you buy.

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                      • #12
                        ~~~~healthy tendon vibes~~~~
                        HR/MPL Clique

                        "I am villifying you - for God's sake, pay attention!" - Peter O'Toole as Henry II, The Lion in Winter

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