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Salter-Harris fracture in yearling colt

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  • Salter-Harris fracture in yearling colt

    My beautiful baby boy (well, not so much a baby anymore) was put down today. He was scheduled for his surgery, which had been put off because he was weight bearing again and the second opinion to the x-rays showed a much better prognosis. We had the ultrasounds taken and it showed that the damage was more catastrophic than the x-rays showed. The connective tissue to the stifle joint was destroyed. He would never have been sound again and one wrong step at any time would have meant a total dislocation. So, we made the decision to let him rest in peace. I miss him terribly already, I'm so heartbroken. He is my girl's first born and my first foal that I saw into this world. My 17 y/o girl (a horse of a lifetime) probably will not be able to have another - I don't think I want to risk her... she had such a hard time with Helios. Thanks for all the jingles. Everyone give their "boys and girls" a hug today...
    Last edited by Reddfox; Sep. 1, 2009, 03:56 PM. Reason: updated Info

  • #2
    I have no medical advice but send lots of jingles your way. My daughter's horse is out of an Adios III mare and he is truly the horse of a lifetime. They are tough and stoic so I hope you get the ok for surgery.
    "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist


    • #3
      Jingling like mad for your baby. Hoping that the insurance people okay surgery. I was a real fan of Adios III.
      Mary Lou


      Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique


      • #4
        Many jingles...if they give him a chance, fractures in youngsters heal swiftly, and more than likely completely...a useful horse he will be after recovery



        • #5
          Well, I didn't have one of those, but I did have a 10 month old filly come in with a broken elbow. YIKES!!! It was either not displace or not complete. I don't remember now. She's now 9 years old, a Premium mare, and going for her Mare Performance Test in 2 weeks!

          I did not exactly follow the vet's directions. He said to put her in a 10 x 10 stall for 4 to 6 weeks and then hand walk her. Yuh, sure. A fractious healing/healed youngster? HA!

          I have a run-in shed that I built. It is 12 feet deep and 32 feet long. I had a round bale feeder in there that I moved to one end and filled with hay. I put a 50 gallon water trough beside it, parallel to the bale feeder. I have support posts in the front basically 'dividing' it into a 12' stall on each end and an 8' section in the middle - where the bale feeder normally sits. Since I moved the bale feeder down to one end, I now had an outdoor, but covered, stall that was about 12' x 20' with hay and water always available. I put four 2 x 12 board up to about 5 1/2 feet to close in the 2 12 foot sections and put gate hinges on one post and mounted an 8 foot gate for easy access. I put her in and left her alone - well, except to visit, feed and check water and progress.

          The reason I did it that way was threefold.
          1. I don't have stalls.
          2. I wasn't about to handle a fractious youngster when she started feeling better.
          3. She needed more space than a 10' x 10' stall to get down and up while the fracture was new.
          It worked beautifully. While the fracture was new, she didn't/couldn't move around very much, but she DID have room to get up and down without getting cast or further injured. When she started to heal, she could walk around at her own pace and rest as she got tired, and she never had any great distance to move around, but she did have enough room to move around. I kept her in there for about 8 - 10 weeks, if I remember correctly until one day, when I went up to feed her, she started hopping and jumping and throwing her front feet around. Hmmmmm. I went back in the house and got some Ace, went out and aced her and took the boards down. She wandered out, still a little loopy, kept walking and all of a sudden realized she was free. She tried one baby buck and had a little trouble with her balance with the ace on board and just started walking. She didn't try to run or play for several weeks, but just walked and rested and today you'd never, ever know anything was ever wrong with her.

          Don't know about your colt's type of fracture, but as noted above, foals and kids have amazing healing powers that we adusts - especially us old ladies don't.

          Good luck with him and I hope you have the success that I did.
          Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
          Now apparently completely invisible!


          • #6
            I have no experience with that type of fracture, I'm sorry. However, I send all good thoughts, jingles and prayers to you and your boy.

            \"If you are going through hell, keep going.\" ~Churchill~


            • #7
              Many jingles. With this type of fracture - a fracture of the growth plates - I would wonder whether growth in that leg would be stunted. I do know in some cases surgery has been successful.
              Roseknoll Sporthorses


              • #8
                My now 9 year old gelding broke both his elbow and had a Salter-Harris type II. It was such a small and oddly-shaped fragment that the surgeon believed trying to secure it surgically would have shattered it. So he couldn't have surgery for that or his elbow.

                This was March of 2001. He was 8 months old. He lived in a stall until November, when he was allowed into a mare motel type pen. A few months after this, he was back out in the field with his buddies.

                If surgery is not an option, time might be. Sky wasn't weight-bearing for a couple of days. After a week, he wasn't even lame.

                The only therapy was a daily DMSO rub after a while because of calcium deposits.

                This is a survivable injury. Sky is fine, no restrictions on his activity, completely sound.

                I hope your baby has as good an outcome as mine. Sky is also a first and only foal from his dam.
                Still Crazy After All These Years


                • #9
                  I have no advice for you on equine fractures, but I can tell you about these in humans. A Salter 2 fracture does not go through the growth plate- it is a fracture just above the growth plate (well, or below depending on what part of the body) in the shaft of the bone, extending to the growth plate, but not going through it or into the joint end of the bone. In humans, we generally do not do surgery on this type of fracture. With rest, they usually heal up great in 6-8 weeks and shouldn't have many long-term effects, shouldn't affect the length of the limb, etc. Hope your colt has a quick recovery!


                  • #10
                    Sending jingles, prayers and hugs to you and your colt -- hoping for a go ahead from the insurance company. The young ones certainly have the edge on recovering and I hope this will be the prognosis for you.


                    • Original Poster

                      Thank you all for the jingles and success stories, it gives me hope. His fracture is just above the stifle and there is a small fragment chipped off in the growth plate. I have not seen the x-rays myself yet. The vet tells me that a complication is that a tendon meets the bone real close to where the chip is and that he's sure to have calcification. I went up to see him today and he's so stoic and quiet. Normally he's inquisitive and full of life. The owners insurance company is in the process of getting a second opinion. We're equipped to be able to handle a lengthy covalescence, and I would be willing to try but the owners are telling me they just want to get out of the situation asap! But I've been told that they can mandate euthanasia even if I offer to buy him back to give him a chance!! Is this true?!?


                      • #12
                        If you are willing to buy him back from the owner and drop the claim, then the insurance company cannot mandate euthanasia.

                        Good luck, I am hoping for the best for the little guy.


                        • Original Poster


                          The second opinion came back!! The other vets told us that the fracture is NOT a salter-Harris fracture...No growth plates involved! they said that it would have been easy to mis-read the x-rays because the growth plates are so large in him! What it is is a large chip out of the bone just above the stifle which can be removed!! There are no ligaments pulling on the chip! The insurance company has approved surgery and the prognosis is excellent!! Thank you, thank you all for all the jingles!! There's one last hurdle to overcome and that is the ultrasounds that they are going to take before surgery. If they show anything additional, then we have to make another tough decision! but, send jingles that the ultrasounds are clear and that the surgery goes smoothly! no date yet for surgery - should have that soon!!!!


                          • #14
                            Sending jingles your way!

                            My yearling colt had an elbow fracture a little over a month ago... We did not have him insured... big mistake! But, we opted for the surgery as he was non weight bearing on that limb. After the surgery, he walked on it immediately. He has been in a 10 x 20 stall for 35 days, today. He is 100% sound and has been a dream for his daily grooming and doctoring. The first 10 days after surgery is a bear as we had to give antibiotics IV every 4 hours. He is stallbound for another 25 days at which time we will re-xray and maybe allow little turnout. I sincerely hope that your boy has as great as an experience as mine. Please keep us posted...

                            Sending hugs and jingles to you!


                            • #15
                              Great news, best of luck to you!
                              McDowell Racing Stables

                              Home Away From Home


                              • #16
                                Super good news on your update. Will continue to throw jingles your way.

                                \"If you are going through hell, keep going.\" ~Churchill~


                                • Original Poster

                                  Update to the Update

                                  My beautiful baby boy (well, not so much a baby anymore) was put down today. He was scheduled for his surgery, which had been put off because he was weight bearing again and the second opinion to the x-rays showed a much better prognosis. We had the ultrasounds taken and it showed that the damage was more catastrophic than the x-rays showed. The connective tissue to the stifle joint was destroyed. He would never have been sound again and one wrong step at any time would have meant a total dislocation. So, we made the decision to let him rest in peace. I miss him terribly already, I'm so heartbroken. He is my girl's first born and my first foal that I saw into this world. My girl (a horse of a lifetime) is probably too old to have another. I'm saddened that her wonderful line will end with her... Thanks for all the jingles. Everyone give their "boys and girls" a hug today...


                                  • #18
                                    Oh no, that is so sad. Godspeed, hugs to you.
                                    McDowell Racing Stables

                                    Home Away From Home


                                    • #19
                                      Oh no; I am so sorry for your loss
                                      Roseknoll Sporthorses