Fissure fractures of the radial diaphysis usually occur in adult horses after being kicked and can be diagnosed along the entire bone. The can be localized or extend over a longer aspect of the bone.
The fracture is incomplete and non-displaced.
The horse usually presents with a small wound on the medial aspect of the distal radius resulting from a kick, but may not have any other signs of injury. The horse is initially usually “fracture-lame” and places only minimal weight onto the limb. After a few days the lameness resolves.
If the fracture is overlooked and the horse is allowed unrestricted activity, there is an increased high risk of the fracture becoming complete and axially unstable. Therefore, if a fracture is suspected, a complete set of radiographs should be taken. Left: a lateromedial radiographic view of the radius of a horse that was kicked and acquired a fissure fracture of the distal radius.
Some horses may be “fracture-lame” but radiographically no fracture can be seen. These horses should be prevented from laying down (see below) and re-radiographed after a few days.
At that time usually the fracture can be identified.
Left: 10 days follow up radiographs showing the fracture clearly on at least one view.