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Broken splint bone removal

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  • Broken splint bone removal

    My Clydesdale mare had waht appeared to be a minor altercation in pasture with another mare, and when I went to bring her anbd her 5-week-old colt in, she was spewing blood fronm a laceration in her leg. Our biggest fear was that it affected her tendon sheath, but vet found a fractured splint bone instead. Clydesdales are bad surgery patients...bad to lay them flat, bad with anasthesia. And bad to have tio trailer an hour to the clinic with her colt. Vet suggested we do the removal in the barn. She had done it before in surgery and thought she could do it for my Rosie wile standing up. We did not know if the cannon bone was also fractured. No x-ray machine and it would have neen hard to tell anyway with all the other damage. I went to it, did not see a better option. I am glad I was able to watch the procedure and make sure her colt was always in her sight (we tranqed him). It took an insane amount of time,. she took out two bone pieces, probably 50% of the splint bone, She felt the cannon bone and it seemed smooth,. The mare puts weight on the leg, so I am very hopeful the cannon bone is ok. The vet did an amazing job of suturing and but on a pressure bandage. In two weeks, the sutures come out and we x-ray. Your good thoughts are appreciated. This mare has had some rough patches but she loves her baby boy a lot. She is a great nother and I am sure she thought the other mare was going to hurt her baby in some way. She really deserves to heal up. I weas planning to try to start her in work again when the the colt was weaned, but now I am just hopeful he will be a pretty and pain-free pasture ornament. After all, she has provided me with the most beautiful and spunky future driving horse I could ever imagine.

  • #2
    Sending get well soon wishes to your mare. My trainer's horse had a splint bone fracture and removal, and he returned to complete soundness, jumping and everything. Hoping for an uneventful recovery for your mare.


    • #3
      Don't give up on her yet!!! There is no reason she can't heal up and be perfectly sound. Jingles for a full recovery.
      "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


      • #4
        Don't give up on your horse! It is very likely that the splint surgery should have few if any complications for future soundness!

        Just over five years ago, another horse cornered my horse in the pasture. By the time it was fully diagnosed (a month later) the vet school told me that she had broken BOTH splint bones. At the time, the vet students would shake their heads at me and look at the ground. Everyone was sure that the suspensory was involved, but no one did an ultrasound. My horse went on to a productive sound career.

        Your horse should be ready to go to work when her foal is weaned.


        • #5
          How nice that your vet was able to do that!
          Mr. Studly had splint removal surgery and he came back sound after a recovery period. Hopefully your gal will too
          Y'all ain't right!


          • #6
            Know of 2 horses with this surgery between 1988 and 1993 - both recovered well. One went back to foxhunting and the other to a career in eventing, probably lower level as the owner was in college.

            Good luck with your mare!
            "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
            Courtesy my cousin Tim


            • Original Poster

              Her bandage was changed today and the two stitched areas (original laceration and incision made to remove broken bone chunks) look good. The vet does not think there is additional damage, but we will x-ray when the stitches come out. The leg is really swollen. I am a bit worried that the foal will kick her in the leg since he is very energetic. I am going to try to take him out of the stall for some exercise if the mare will allow it. Ideas on "foal entertainment" are welcome!


              • #8
                My horse had a piece of his splint bone removed a little over a year ago. He had the entire summer off and came back to work very slowly in September and hasn't taken a lame step. Granted, he wasn't lame before the surgery (despite the x-ray showing a very clear fracture), but it doesn't swell when he moves around anymore. Good luck with your girl for a full recovery!


                • #9
                  So sorry!!! If it gives you some hope, I had a pony (who admittedly was a fine-boned medium pony, which probably makes it easier) who had surgery to remove a broken splint bone, and a steel plate and 5 screws inserted to fix a broken cannon bone, and she came back 100% sound. And, this was almost 25 years ago, so I'm sure there have been a lot of advances since that time. We all expected that she would have to retire, and were amazed at how well she came back--literally you could not tell anything had ever happened to her, she didn't so much as have stiffness in cold weather. I hope that your mare recovers just as well!!


                  • #10
                    I will add my happy ending story. 3 days after I brought my new arab mare home (VERY fine boned to boot) she was kicked in pasture on her first turn out day. Saw a cut, treated it, had no reason to think broken splint, not lame. 3 days later, heat and swelling. vet came and gave antibiotics. had 2 more vet visits as it didn't heal well. 3 rd vet visit he xrays and goes "oh s__t". fractured splint bone, in 100 little pieces, and the bone was infected. call orthopod who said no surgery while infected so had my vet go in with forceps and pull out as many bone fragments as he could find. Ended up on antibiotics for about 2 months, hand walking only for 2.5 months, then gradual build up to light trotting on lunge line, then walk/trot under saddle. Finally started cantering under saddle in Dec (injury was at beginning of July). Mare is completely sound now and just got a 65% at an A dressage show training level. The bone fragments that the vet couldn't get out just resorbed into the body. She just has a bump like a large splint on her leg. I just monitor it to make sure it isn't getting larger or irritating anything.

                    So keep the faith, your mare should heal fine. hand walking if your vet allows it should help to keep the swelling down and that should entertain baby too.


                    • #11
                      I had one that fx splint bone and it was removed. Horse went back to work without problems.


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks to all for sharing your success stories! The mare is still putting weight on the foot. Although I won't know for sure until they do x-rays in two weeks, the cannon bone is probably OK. I am glad I decided to NOT breed her again, as I would be concerned about all the meds if she was pregnant. Today they baby got to play in the barn aisle for a while, with mom watching from the stall. All the barn doors were closed, and the aisle is very wide, so he was able to get energy out. I am feeling much better about things now.


                        • #13
                          My mare had a splint bone injury when she was 6. She fully recovered and went on to have a great show career. I just retired her at age 16. She was lame 2 days in 13 years - your horse can fully recover with proper vet care and maintenance.