Horses are confined to the stall for 60-90 days, depending on healing progress. Depending on the severity of the fracture, cross ties may be indicated for about 60 days followed by 30 days of hand-walking exercises.
An alternative technique is to keep the patient in a sling, which is not snugly applied to the belly. The sling shown here is manufactured in Switzerland and is very well tolerated by horses.
2. Overview of rehabilitation
Follow up films are taken periodically to assess progression of the fracture.
Left: Radiographic views of a horse that was kicked in the distal radius. An impression fracture can be seen on one view (arrow) but no actual fracture could be detected. A full limb cast was applied as a precautionary measure.
Left: One week follow up radiographs show progressive development of the fracture lines. At this point the cast was removed and the horse placed in the sling.
One month follow up radiographs showed progressive healing of the fissures allowing progressive increase f the work load over 4 additional weeks.
In most cases healing is adequate in 90-120 days to allow transition to paddock exercise.
Occasionally a fissure fracture may turn into a complete fracture. Dependent upon the configuration of the fracture surgical fixation applying ORIF is performed or the animal is humanely destroyed.
Left: Four radiographic views of the radius with several fissure lines.
Left: The horse was found the following day in the stall with a complete short-oblique fracture of the proximal radius and was subsequently euthanatized because the owner did not want have the patient treated.