Authors of section

Authors

Anton Fürst, Wayne McIlwraith, Dean Richardson

Executive Editor

Jörg Auer

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Nonsurgical fracture management

1. Principles

The major reasons to consider non-surgical treatment of these fractures are economic and situations in which the options for surgical repair and anesthetic recovery are limited.

Because the articular separation of medial condylar fractures is often minimal, successful healing and athletic function is possible if complications can be avoided.

Left: This conservatively treated medial condylar fracture healed radiographically over most of its length but some radiolucency can still be seen near the joint at 6 months post-injury.

Medial incomplete condylar fracture - nonsurgical treatment

2. Nonsurgical treatment

Forelimb fractures can usually be managed successfully with simple stall rest. Hindlimb fractures, however, are much more dangerous and the option of subjecting a horse to cross-ties or a wire should be strongly considered.

Horses should have appropriate hoof care of the contralateral foot, such as additional frog support.

Judicious use of analgesics to maintain an acceptable level of comfort is important.

Radiographs should be taken at approximately monthly intervals and decisions concerning exercise should be made based on radiographic healing.

Most horses will require stall rest for a minimum of 3-4 months. Fracture healing is more rapid in younger horses.

Medial incomplete condylar fracture - nonsurgical treatment

3. Aftertreatment

Radiographs should be taken at approximately monthly intervals and decisions concerning exercise should be made based on radiographic healing.

Most horses will require stall rest for a minimum of 3-4 months. Fracture healing is more rapid in younger horses.

Prognosis
The prognosis for medial condylar fractures is generally very good if catastrophic complications can be avoided. Medial fractures tend to have less preexisting joint pathology than lateral condylar fractures.