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Weanling with a possible pelvic fracture-Update

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  • Weanling with a possible pelvic fracture-Update

    I have a filly about 9 months old that I found last Friday morning nearly 3 legged lame in the rear. She could bear weight on her toe of her right hind but that was the limit for her. We had the vet out immediately and he could find no obvious problems...negative to hoof testers, no lower limb swelling, etc.. and exam could not find crepation (grinding) in her hindquarters from an apparent fracture. His thoughts at that exam were that he could not rule out a pelvic fracture but he was thinking probably soft tissue strain or a baby overreacting to pain. That morning was the one where it went down to 10 F here and the ground was frozen hard. I suspect she was running and slipped and fell. She was out with other weanlings in the pasture.

    Anyway, she has improved a lot in one week to where she is now bearing weight again on her leg and fully using but still markedly lame in the walk. She has a touch of hesitation in the phase where the leg is pulled forward. She went from a 9 on a scale of 1-10 in lameness to a 5. We stall rested her for a couple of days with another filly but after 3 days in a large foaling stall, both were bouncing off of walls and she was much better. We decided to build them a small pen with panels where they could move a little more and look around and this had been the vet's original advice if she showed reasonable improvement from the onset.

    Had another vet in the practice out yesterday for a recheck and she felt that with as much improvement as she has shown, a soft tissue injury is less likely than a pelvic fracture. She felt if there was a fracture, it was not a severe one. She felt pretty sure the stifle was OK and is convinced the injury is higher up. She felt her prognosis was pretty good due to the amount of improvement she'd shown in a week and her age but would have much rather I had her locked up in a stall. The filly mainly just stands or walks around so I hate to lock her up again if I can avoid it. Vet said OK but be careful...so we are watching her carefully for any worsening and so far so good.

    She felt that we could xray if we wanted to but we'd have to lay her down and on her back to do it and the risks on anesthesia...and the treatment would be the same regardless of what we find...so I opted out of that for now. She suggested bute but again...I'm not comfortable giving bute to a baby who is probably working on a good ulcer right now anyway from the stress of her injury and confinement. She seems to be OK and I'd rather not give her bute if I can avoid it.

    I am curious if anyone else has ever dealt with a similar injury and how it turned out? How did you treat it and did you diagnose or just take a wait and see approach as I have? Did your baby go on to be a riding horse? I am pretty worried about her but trying hard to stay upbeat.
    Last edited by Ridge Runner; Jan. 25, 2008, 01:53 PM. Reason: Update

  • #2
    No experience with this, but I am jingling for your little one.
    Mary Lou


    Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique


    • #3
      Lots of jingles here....

      Fighting ovarian cancer ! 2013 huge turnaround as I am winning the battle !..


      • #4
        I've seen two pelvic fractures, but both were adult horses. Both went on to heal fine for riding, after strict stall rest, but they were both light riding/trail horses prior to the injury anyway.
        I know it seems harsh, but usually stall rest is the most important treatment. It only takes one mis-step, a kick from her buddy or a little buck to set back any progress that has been made. If she is better being outside I would build a stall size pen for her, but I wouldn't want her to be able to move any faster than a walk. I also wouldn't have a buddy with her, but maybe next to her, to keep her calm.

        The concern with a filly, other than will she be riding sound is if the break and subsequent healing will narrow the pelvic canal. If it does cause the pelvis to narrow significantly then breeding her could be very dangerous, as she maybe unable to deliver the foal. Hopefully it isn't that serious in this case.

        I wouldn't do the Bute, either. I think in a case like this it is good for the horse to feel a little pain; if the Bute dulls the pain then they feel good and are more likely to be too active and re-injure themselves.
        Already excited about our 2016 foals! Expecting babies by Indoctro, Diamant de Semilly, Zirocco Blue and Calido!


        • #5
          I have to agree with Hillside on keeping her quiet.. I have never rehabbed something like this but have had to rehab a weanling before.. It can be done.. Keep a buddy next to her, make her a stall size paddock if you can in the middle of one quiet baby sitter horse.. of course I know the weather is an issue.. If you have to use a sedative to keep her quiet.. believe it or not they do adapt in a short while.. Takes lots of hoop jumping on your part..

          good luck .. P~


          • #6
            I am unfortunately dealing with exactly the same issue right now. My super fancy Rotspon colt that I sold to a Grand Prix rider in Germany fractured his pelvis 6 weeks ago. He is 9 months old. We had the local Vet out to do x-rays which showed nothing so ended up going to New Bolton two days later to attempt to get a more definitive diagnosis. After two days of waiting in the Intensive Care Unit ( the colt could not get up and down without help intially)for the Bone Scanning machine to become available, he was was diagnosed with a pelvic fracture. I was also given the option of putting the colt under general to get a better idea of the extent of the injury...the Bone Scan can only show so much...., but the Vet said that the colt could injure himself even more in recovery. Long story short the prognosis for complete recovery was given at 20%. Pretty grim numbers. This colt was not as lame as many the Vet at New Bolton said he had seen so said he might up his chances of full recovery to 50%? The colt has been in a stall for the past six weeks. At eight weeks he will go back for assessment. When I asked "when" I would have an idea of his future soundness I was told by six months after the injury they will either be sound or they will stay pretty much as they are. This colt has been a trooper but is getting pretty sick of the stall rest thing. He was up on his hind end a couple times today and I must say, I can't really see him favoring one side over the other right now. But we won't know for awhile. My advice is lock her up for two months. I have had to sedate my this boy a couple times and you will have to consult with your vet on that. Two months in the stall is not the end of the world. I had one as a weanling in the stall for a year. But I have a sound and happy horse to show for it.

            Best of luck with your weanling.
            Nancy Holowesko



            • Original Poster

              Thanks everyone for the advice, jingles, and Crosiadore for sharing your experience. I sure hope your colt heals up well. He sound worse than mine.

              You all make good points about the confinement being best. Perhaps I can rework this so I have two pens and her friend beside her...and this filly in a smaller pen. I actually am using a shedrow barn for the shelter so that might work...and she can have a stall also and a little run outside. By the end of the month I will have mares up at that barn also so they can be her babysitters next door...perhaps I'll bring a quiet one up sooner? I wonder if her own dam might be a good idea or not?

              I had an email from someone strongly suggesting I have a vet trained in chiropractic look at her also and I will do so. In this person's experience with a similar injury, a hip was out of it's socket and put back by an adjustment.

              Thanks again for the support and advice. Sometimes you just need to get another perspective from another person to see things more clearly.


              • #8
                I had a diagnosed fractured pelvis in a 2 yr old and an undiagnosed, but suspected fractured pelvis in a 3 month old. The 3 month old was lame and blocks all the way up through the stifle did not improve anything. The vet was pretty sure that he had a fracture up high, so we put him on stall rest for about 8 weeks. Fortunately... (unfortunately??) I also had another 3 month old who had just fractured her coffin bone, so they were weaned and put on stall rest together. They did just fine and both came out of the ordeal sound.
                The 2 yr old fractured her pelvis during a minor surgical procedure on her foot. It was diagnosed with a nuclear scan and trans rectal/trans abdominal ultrasound. She took a lot longer to heal (probably 3+ months of stall rest, then another few months of small paddock turnout, then 24/7 turnout). A year later she was still VERY uneven behind - to the point that we were sure she would never be sound again. The vets said to start working her under saddle because the more she moved, the better she looked. It was painful to watch at first, but she has been under saddle for about a year now and is almost 100% even behind and still continuing to get better as time goes on. Thank goodness for amazing rideability!! She had such severe muscle atrophy and weakness due to her significant growth as she was favoring her leg that it has taken a really long time for her to overcome that.


                • #9
                  Unfortunately I've had a similar problem with a very nice colt last year. The day after he was named Champion colt at the AHS inspection (it's always the good ones) he hurt himself in the pasture. 3 legged lame. Had vet out, same thing. Stall rest for probably 2 or 3 months. He was better, not perfect, but better so I started turning him out & suddenly he was 3 legged lame on the other hind leg. Off to a medical center with him, bone scan, blocks, etc. Some sacral area involvement shown on bone scan but no definitive answers given. He came home & back to stall rest. Was moving really well, not perfect but nearly & now after one week out in paddock he's slightly off again. He's just going to live with me forever as a pasture ornament. The only thing besides stall rest that helped him is accupuncture. He literally hopped into the vet clinic & after his first treatment he walked out using all 4's. Great improvement. I'm starting again with these treatments next week & I'm going to keep him on them from now on until I don't see any further benefits from them.
                  Good luck with all of the injured ones.
                  Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!


                  • #10
                    I have never [knock on wood] dealt with that but I am sending lots and lots of jingles--

                    Home of Ironman: GOV, BWP, RPSI, CSHA, AWR, ISR Oldenburg, CWHBA, CSHA, CS, and PHR.


                    • #11
                      I had an 8 month old filly break her hip (acetebulum). We did not have to lay her down for x-rays. Took them standing but did drug her a bit to keep her quiet for the pictures. They could also feel the bone clicking during a pelvic exam. (They = Auburn Univ.)

                      Long short of the story, she healed completely. I showed her over fences and she has had two foals.
                      The Inverted Y
                      Thoroughbred and Anglo Arabian Sporthorses
                      2005 and 2007 USEF Breeder of the Year.


                      • #12
                        I had a two year old colt run into a tree and we think he cracked his pelvis. He seemed to recover and was eventually broke. He had lots of ups and downs, but as long as he is kept in work, he is very servicably sound. He is 14 this year. He never was a horse he could have been, but he has been a good lesson horse for people to show.
                        Good luck with your baby.


                        • #13
                          I had a filly that we suspected either hip or pelvic fracture. She was not weight bearing for a couple of weeks. Like you, I didn't want to add the risk of laying her down to xray. After a few weeks of no improvement, I did decide I had to find out. Knowing that she would probably be put down, I hopped her out to the field, and let her go that last night with her friends. She came in slightly better. I canceled her appointment to xray, and turned her out again the following night.

                          Each morning, she came in just a slight bit better, so I just kept going. After a month of turnout, she was good enough to be a pasture ornament, possible broodmare. I gave her time. She was injured at about 13 months, 100% pasture sound within a year. By the time she was 3, we broke her. She seemed to be a bit tight in her movement on that leg, but with work improved, like it was breaking up scar tissue. 6 months under saddle, she was fine, and even began to do some jumping without an issue.

                          The following spring, she became a broodmare, but she was not ever lame again. I had just always intended for her to be a broodmare.

                          Good Luck with your girl!


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks Kathi and Darlyn and also everyone else who has shared advice and experiences. It makes me feel better to hear of some full recoveries and horses that went on to be useful at least. At this point, I am prepared to keep her for life and put her in the broodmare band if she can be bred. She is quite a nice baby.

                            I did make a smaller pen for her today out of her stall like a run and I gave her a very quiet companion in a pen beside her. She goes from walking fairly well on it to acting at other times like it hurts her a lot...it's odd. I will definitely try and get a chiro trained vet out as soon as I can...just in case there is anything that can be done that way.


                            • #15
                              I would talk to the vet about possibly using IV steroids/DMSO to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Not sure if it would be indicated in this case, but might help. I would put her on but for about 1 week to 10 days. Bute is a very effective antiinflammatory, which can only help with something as severe as this. A course of bute given short term should not hurt her, many people overlook the therapeutic effects of bute treatment.


                              • #16
                                WE did have WAlker on DMSO for several days.


                                • #17
                                  Sorry to hear about the injured babies

                                  I think the Trakehner stallion Amiego (Abdullah's 1/2 brother) broke his pelvis (or hip) as a young horse. He recovered and was ridden by Peter Gray in the Pan Am games (eventing). This would have been in the seventies, when veterinary medicine was not quite what it is today.
                                  It's all fun and games until someone pulls a shoe....


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
                                    I would talk to the vet about possibly using IV steroids/DMSO to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Not sure if it would be indicated in this case, but might help. I would put her on but for about 1 week to 10 days. Bute is a very effective antiinflammatory, which can only help with something as severe as this. A course of bute given short term should not hurt her, many people overlook the therapeutic effects of bute treatment.
                                    I'm surprised that the OP's vet didn't recommend running some DMSO through the filly and I agree with the suggestion for giving bute too. Have you ever broken a bone?? I rode a 3 year old WB filly that had a pelvic fracture at some point in her young life. She was quite assymetrical in her hind end and moved a bit differently behind. She got better with more work and most recently her A/A owner got a 70% at a recognized dressage show at Training level. I don't know how far she'll go up the levels, but I can keep you posted. I like the idea of getting a vet/chiro out there too, but I don't think I'd do that for another month or so. If it really is a fracture, give it time to heal but then get the therapy done. The filly I mentioned earlier had an owner that just let it heal on it's own and didn't want to spend the $$. I think she'd have been better off doing something earlier rather than waiting, but regardless the mare is still quite useful and able to be ridden.


                                    • #19
                                      Jingles DDB, for your sweet little filly!!
                                      Celtic Pride Farm
                                      Become a fan on Facebook!


                                      • #20
                                        I've known 2 horses with pelvic fractures. I think a lot depends on where the fracture is.

                                        The first one was a big weanling warmblood filly. She healed fine and was started under saddle as a 4 year old, but always had a slight hitch in her gait that kept her from a show career. She became a broodmare and had several very nice foals with no complications.

                                        The second was a friend's Grand Prix dressage horse, that fractured the point of his hip when he cast himself in his stall. After 9 months off (stall rest and then limited turnout), he returned to full work and is completely sound.

                                        Jingles for your baby!