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Broken Pelvis in foal

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  • Broken Pelvis in foal

    You know it is bad when the orthopedic vet at the big tertiary care vet hospital tells you that you have had some bad luck....

    My favorite yearling (out of my CCI** mare) broke his pelvis - no earthly idea how, he was just dead lame one day in the pasture. The initial prognosis was excellent although they said it is very unusual in foals. On the vet check after 2 months of stall rest, his hip had slipped which made his prognosis much worse. Basically, the upshot was put him down that day or take him home for 2 months and hope for some fairy dust.... So, he is home. A vet friend recommended possibly trying a chiropracter.

    Anyone with any experience? We will be good with pasture sound. He is a pet and out of my first upper level horse who I love.
    www.witsendeventing.com
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  • #2
    A foal or a yearling? I had one who broke his pelvis during the birthing process but recovered well. He was unable to get up unassisted for a few weeks and was confined to the stall for a couple of months. He was put in race training and didn't have any problems until the got up to timed workouts and was retired to be a riding horse. Not sure about a yearling. I believe the prognosis for pasture sound is extremely good however.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

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    • #3
      I'm so sorry. How utterly heartbreaking.
      www.juniperridgeranch.us
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      • #4
        I'm really sorry for you. In 30 years of breeding we've experienced 2 pelvic fractures. It's really important to know where the actual break is and what other structures are involved. 1. wealing flipped over a gate, trying to jump it and presented lameness of the left hind quarter. Diagnosis was a fracture of the tuber ischii (ugh, you could hear the crepitation on rectal exam). This had a good prognosis. After about 6 months of stall rest, he was fine and went on to have a successful performance career. 2. Mature jumper that presented with chronic hip pain that worsened with time. Took a long time for diagnosis, but there was a fracture of the acetabulum which meant the hip joint was not longer stable. Not a good prognosis. After 2 years of rehab, he was put down.

        So get all the facts you can to help you make your decisions about care. Wishing you the best of luck with your youngster.
        Judy
        Sylvan Farm~Breeding for Performance
        Ramzes SF, approved GOV and Belgian http://sylvanfarm.com
        USEF National ID and Horse Recording Task Force; USHJA Jumper Breeding Ad Hoc Committee

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          It's really important to know where the actual break is and what other structures are involved.
          The initial diagnosis was that the fracture was of the ischium. They did not initially think it involved the acetabulum; however, they did not lie him down for the X-rays, so could not be 100% sure. We did not repeat the X-rays at the last visit as it would not change treatment, and we didn't want to put him through anything unnecessary. They said that pelvic fractures are fairly common in older horses but very rare in foals. He definitely looks like his hips are not level. Just breaking my heart.... He is so sweet and is being so good about all this stall rest. And he was pretty much exactly what we are breeding for before the injury..... Ugh....
          www.witsendeventing.com
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          • #6
            I'm so sorry to hear this. (((hugs)))

            If he were mine I'd want a more definitive diagnosis on where the injury is because that is the only way you will have any chance of predicting the outcome. I can understand you not wanting to take him for more xrays but perhaps another talk with your vet about what they have found, what a "slipped hip" is (?) and what things you can do at home to give him the best possible chance of recovery.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              perhaps another talk with your vet about what they have found, what a "slipped hip" is
              I am obviously not explaining well. I'm a physician so I have a pretty good understanding of the anatomy. Actually, my husband, myself, and our good friend Sharon White, all had pelvis fractures of varying degrees in 2010 from riding accidents (and I had a dislocated right hip as part of that), can you believe it, so I have a bit TOO good an understanding of pelvic fractures.....

              What they are thinking is that the head of the femur is no longer in the acetabulum which leads them to think there probably was a crack through the acetabulum that they did not see on the initial films. Even knowing the exact anatomy, they could not really give us any more information r/e prognosis (except not good) because this injury is so rare in yearlings. They did feel that nothing could be done surgically to help. Basically, they more or less said, put him down now or wait 2 months and hope....

              I have had a bit of the same issue myself. I did have a 6 hour arthroscopic surgery on my hip a year ago, about 6 months after the initial accident. Because I had a posterior dislocation which is quite rare especially in women in their 40s, my ortho guy (who is one of the top hip specialists and draws from all over the US) has been unable to give me any real prognosis except wait and see.....

              I was hoping someone else out there might be one of the "rare" instances or one of the vets on the forum might have seen a similar case..... Really, just grasping at straws......
              www.witsendeventing.com
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              • #8
                I am so very very sorry ...

                But by the sounds of things - analytically, professionally, medically and practicality wise you have the best collection of medical minds deciding what is best for this colt and know exactly what you are dealing with

                Jingles that everything progresses as it should and as you hope for and he gets to live out a long and happy life with you

                {{{HUGS}}}
                www.TrueColoursFarm.com
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                • #9
                  So they're saying he has a fracture through the acetabulum and a chronic dislocation of the hip joint? Ow. That's not good. I'm really sorry.

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                  • #10
                    I had an adult horse fracture his pelvis in his field...by himself. His wasn't through any joint. Best we can figure is he reared up and sat down with his tail flipped up. Stall rest for 4 months. Slow rehab (LOTS of drugs)...I didn't turn him out until he was cantering undersaddle for a little while (probably 7 months after the injury). He did it in June--I lost the fall season and he was back at Prelim/Interm. for the spring season. We did a nuclear bone scan on him to see where the fracture was located.


                    I've had a lot of weird things with my horses...a lot...and expect I will have more in the future. If I were in your shoes...I'd want a surgical consult with Dr. Dean Richardson up at New Bolton. They see a lot of odd things with foals there....and would be the ones I think to get a second opinion.

                    Jingles he gets better.
                    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Nov. 28, 2011, 12:29 PM.
                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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                    • #11
                      We had a similar case here a few years ago, another yearling jumped on a yearling and that pulled through and actually went on to be a riding horse.
                      From what I recall we kept him in for 6 months gradually increasing the space he was allowed to move around in and when finally allowed out was into a tiny paddock. So good news but it was down to the yearling being a very good patient as much as anything
                      Will be sending up lots of prayers for you, its always the special ones isnt it(:

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                      • #12
                        Best wishes for your sweet yearling. A very tough diagnosis.
                        Sunny Days Hanoverians
                        http://www.sunnydayshanoverians.com

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                        • #13
                          I am so sorry to hear this an have sent you a PM.
                          It's not true that I had nothing on. I had the radio on.”
                          ? Marilyn Monroe

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Thanks everyone for the suggestions and support.
                            www.witsendeventing.com
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                            • #15
                              This probably doesn't help at all, but one my mares had a severely broken hip, pelvis and fetlock as a baby~ According to her breeder, she had a run in of some kind with a gate~ After 6 months or so of stall rest, she recovered enough to get around, but she never recovered enough to be a riding horse. I don't actually know if she was a weanling or yearling when her incident occurred, but I do know she was quite young~ Eventually, I purchased her as a 3yr old, pasture sound for breeding only. She is not, and never will be remotely sound, and at times it is difficult to watch her gimp around the pasture with her crooked hips and fused fetlock, but she is bright eyed and happy, queen of the field, and shows no sign of being in pain~ Although she will never have a career, she has been a phenomenal broodmare, incredible producer and a wonderful asset to my program.
                              Proud home of a barn full of second mortgage's...
                              www.GoldenEdgeSporthorses.com

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                              • #16
                                A friend of mine had this happen to one of his weanlings. I think the mare may have stepped on the colt. They had the local vet out who said it was a slipped hip. The colt limped for quite sometime, didn't look real good at times, and they did almost nothing for her. Low & behold it healed. Watching her in the pasture, you'd almost never know anything was wrong with her now. No one has tried doing with her yet, she's still young a yrlng or 2 yro. She'll probably be started in harness sometime reasonably soon. If she doesn't stay sound, then off to the broodmare band she goes.
                                Visit my Spoonflower shop

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Wits End Eventing View Post
                                  The initial diagnosis was that the fracture was of the ischium. They did not initially think it involved the acetabulum; however, they did not lie him down for the X-rays, so could not be 100% sure. We did not repeat the X-rays at the last visit as it would not change treatment, and we didn't want to put him through anything unnecessary. They said that pelvic fractures are fairly common in older horses but very rare in foals. He definitely looks like his hips are not level. Just breaking my heart.... He is so sweet and is being so good about all this stall rest. And he was pretty much exactly what we are breeding for before the injury..... Ugh....
                                  I had a filly break her acetebulum when she was 8 months old. She did have x-rays to confirm. The vet (Auburn University) said she would never be ridable or breedable.

                                  Well, she is a champion over fences and has had two wonderful foals (one exported to Dubai, the other is in Hawaii). She is still showing and winning over fences now at age 17.

                                  All she needed was quiet rest. Her hips were uneven for years, but gradually evened out and are now normal.

                                  Here she is:
                                  Attached Files
                                  The Inverted Y
                                  Thoroughbred and Anglo Arabian Sporthorses
                                  2005 and 2007 USEF Breeder of the Year.
                                  www.allanglos.net

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                                  • #18
                                    I have no personal experience with the injury but I'm going to hold on to allanglos' experience and wish you all great luck. Many, many jingles and best wishes headed your way.

                                    http://community.webshots.com/user/ballyduff
                                    \"If you are going through hell, keep going.\" ~Churchill~

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Wits End Eventing View Post
                                      A vet friend recommended possibly trying a chiropracter.

                                      Anyone with any experience? We will be good with pasture sound. He is a pet and out of my first upper level horse who I love.
                                      I knew a horse who had a pelvic fracture as a yearling. The vet did regular acupuncture for the following 2+ years, with the idea of keeping the surrounding muscles from atrophying.

                                      When I knew the horse, it seemed to be working. The horse LOVED the acupuncture treatments and got really excited whenever the vet showed up.

                                      Good luck with yours.

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                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Thanks SOOO much everyone. We at least have a little hope now. This is why this forum is wonderful. Good advice and support when you really need it.
                                        www.witsendeventing.com
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