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Authors of section


Alan Ruggles, Jeffrey Watkins

Executive Editor

Jörg Auer

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Nonsurgical fracture management

1. Nonsurgical treatment

Horses are confined to the stall for 60-90 days, depending on the healing progress.
If there is excessive swelling or the horse has a tendency to not fully extend the limb, preferring instead to stand with carpus flexed, a well-padded bandage, with a splint applied to its caudal aspect and extending from the ground to the proximal aspect of the antebrachium is indicated.

Follow-up films to assess healing are taken before the horse is transitioned to free paddock exercise.

Left: 3 months follow up radiograph showing good fracture healing. The horse was sound at that time.

nonsurgical fracture management

2. Complications

In some cases conservative treatment using stall rest is not successful. In these cases a nonunion develops.

4-months follow up radiographs of a comminuted olecranon/ulna fracture. The fracture lines are still visible and the proximal fragment is somewhat displaced.

nonsurgical fracture management

Because of the prolonged decreased weight-bearing on the limb, a flexural deformity and muscle atrophy developed.

nonsurgical fracture management