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Another OTTB question

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  • Another OTTB question

    Calling all OTTB people!

    How common is it for horses coming off the track to have bone chips in the knees?

    I assume you would have the vet x-ray for them and then have them removed? Or do you leave them in if they are not causing a problem?

    I don't really know anything about this condition or the procedures involved for treating them. Please enlighten me!

    "The Prince" aka Front Row
    Cavalier Manor

  • #2
    I know there are people on here who have WAY more experience than I do, but I've had a few. I think there are enough sound/no issue ones that I wouldn't take one something like that.
    Last edited by butkrustag; Apr. 25, 2010, 11:54 PM.


    • #3
      I think it depends on the size and location of the chip, and how much cartilege is affected. The two horses I have dealt with that had knee chips both required surgery, and after a 6 month rest, were fine to go, with no further issues for the 3 or 4 years I knew them. Those chips were quite minor though.
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


      • #4
        Depends on the chip, size, location and damage and how many times the horse was injected at the track. Xrays are a must when taking one off the track with suspected chips and generally surgery is required to make the horse sound, some, even after sugery do not stay sound. We had one come in here that was claimed by a lady and even though the mare had surgery, she had pockets where fluid would build and make her lame. We did everything but inject her again. I told the lady to sell her as a broodmare and instead she wanted a return on her purchase and sent her to a butcher trainer at the track. We don't know what he did to her the night of her last race, but she was "sound" leading up to it and then hours before her race she was three legged lame??? I went to pick her up the following night after the vet supposedly looked at her and said she was fine and the poor girl was so freaking lame she fell getting on my trailer, not to mention the dead horses lying outside the barn, anyhow, sad to say the mare had to be euthanized a month later due to an infection in the knee, and after a necropsy, my vet said he would stake his license on it that she was injected with something illegal the way the tissue looked. But, I digress.... anyhow, while knee chips are healable, it is best to do xrays by a non track vet and go from there.

        Facebook: Hilltop Farm VA


        • #5
          One would think that the future discipline of the horse would have some impact as well.

          For example, a jumper or eventer would have more chance of a problem or possible further damage to a knee due to the forces of landing than a trail horse or western pleasure.

          Personally, I wouldn't chance it for a future jumper.


          • Original Poster


            Thanks guys!

            I have done a little reading up on it myself - the horse isn't mine... yet. He is a pasture ornament right now. I was talking to his owner, who doesn't ride and isn't that knowledgeable, about him and she mentioned that they were a possibility - whatever that means. She wants me to work with him and improve his manners and get him going under saddle eventually.

            He has been off the track for about 5 years, so whatever he did/does have may have re-calcified and joined the bone again. She said he couldn't jump, but I will have to get the vet out to take some pictures of his knees to say for sure.

            I want to see what a bone chip even looks like!

            Thanks again for the help!
            "The Prince" aka Front Row
            Cavalier Manor


            • #7
              A chip is exactly what it sounds like, a small fracture of bone that generally breaks off the front of the carpal bones, and sometimes the radius.

              Chips generally are not overtly obvious, mild lameness, but are usually detected as a result of mild to moderate effusion of the joint.

              In this case, with the hose being off for 5 years, with a chip, would concern me.

              Generally they need to be removed ASAP to prevent any cartilage damage. Often a chip that is not removed can cause some pretty severe cartilage damage that cannot be repaired and becomes a major maintenance issue.

              Most horses that have chips identified and removed quickly have a very good prognosis for returning a 100% after recovery.

              I have heard of horses with chips that have disintegrated over time and I have heard of them fusing again, but in both cases I believe it is more luck of position than anything else, and I would imagine would not cause the issues associated with a traditional chip. It would probably be something that you would see after the fact during an xray.

              Michelle Valincourt rode a horse Branch County who had a knee chip, who was a very successful GP horse that won silver in the Olympics. So it is not uncommon, but I believe the majority of horses that have gone on and been successful at the upper levels have had them removed.